Every time you step into a movie theater or pick up a book, you are entering a story that's not your own. What happens next is why we love stories so much. We get caught up in the adventure and swept up into the lives of the characters. I once got so mesmerized with a movie that I completely forgot that Heidi was close to birthing our first child!
I want us to notice what happens when we enter a story. For that small pocket of time, we leave our own stories. We leave behind the to-do lists and the busy calendars. We leave behind our worries and our cares. We leave behind the self-critical monologues that spin in our heads. It's not that we try to make them go away. They just exit center stage in our thinking. But we also leave something else behind that is harder to define. It's the restless vacuum at our deepest heart. At some point, the vacuum forces us to admit that something is terribly wrong with the way we conceive of our lives. And there is something wrong.
We were never meant to live in our self-constructed stories.
We were always meant to live in a story whose author was not ourselves.
This is why entering the storyline of a heroic novel or an epic movie can feel so intoxicating. We are caught up, swept up, pulled up out of our stories and into one we did not write. Notice the repetition of up in those phrases. That's the way it feels, as if we are being lifted up higher, where the air is bracing and the view panoramic. But when the last page of the book is turned or the last frame of the movie is shown, there is the inevitable letdown. We must return to our bedraggled souls and begin again to hack our way through the jungle of this existence.
But what if there really is another story? What is there really is another author?
The Bible presents itself as the great story of all time. Surely its influence on literature, music, art, and poetry give some credence to this claim. But that's not really the point. It presents itself as the great story so we can enter it. We are to lay down the machete and stop the hacking. There is a winsome Author inviting us to enter His story. And He hopes that we will play the parts He has so masterfully designed for us.
The Bible has a name for entering His story. It's called eternal life. It's the life we were meant to live, a life connected to the great Storyteller, a life of trust in His writing ability, and a life of accepting His role assignments. It's a life of relief from the aching vacuum.
But there is more. Each day, each moment, the great Storyteller continues to invite us to enter. He woos us and whispers to us, occasionally with stronger prods. He is asking us to receive what we have longed for — to be caught up, swept up, pulled up into a great story, the Great Story, the story of the Father, Son, and Spirit. It is the only story worth living in.
Each day, each moment you can respond to that invitation. And it's simple to respond.
All you need to say is "Yes."
Note: This ministry was started with the hope that it would help others connect to God's story. Now beginning its 7th year, that hope is as strong as ever. The next few posts will describe some ways that connection to His story can happen.