Tell Me a Story…

Tell me a story any day, and I’ll find Jesus in it. Guaranteed.

That’s why I think it’s funny that there are people who consider fiction a waste of time. Fact is all that speaks to them. Even Christian people. People who have read the entire story of the Bible. People who study the STORIES Jesus told.

I think Jesus told more stories than He preached sermons. Or maybe I just remember the stories. Because I’m not one of those people who wants the facts. I want the story. I want to find my own truth through the eyes of a character. There are certain things you could preach to me all day, and I’d turn a deaf ear. But with a story, you’re presenting the truth in a non-threatening way.

Think of King David. After his sin with Bathsheba, God sent Nathan, not to preach a sermon, but to tell a story. (You can check it out in 2 Samuel 12.) Why? Because if Nathan would have barged in there and told David all he had done wrong, David would have gotten defensive. But Nathan didn’t start pointing fingers. He posed a “hypothetically speaking” story that got David’s blood boiling. And that’s when David acknowledges that he has sinned against the Lord.

The story and the sermon have the same message, but only one reaches the heart of the person who hears it. Because only one is capable of disarming the defenses. After all, what threat is there in a story?

I’m reading a story right now that isn’t even a Christian story. It’s mainstream YA fiction, but I see Jesus all over it. It’s a story about taking risks and finding that some things are worth fighting for. It’s about a girl who has lived all of her life in a bubble and is about to break free.

I’m not sure that I’ve lived in a bubble (leastwise, not so much as the heroine in Ally Condie’s Matched), but I’m definitely on the verge of taking a huge risk, so Cassia’s story has been as encouraging and inspirational as it is well-written.

So tell me a story… and it might just be the thing that catapults me into taking that final step and breaking out of the little world I’ve created for myself.

What stories has God used to challenge you lately?

I Just Want to be a Mirror

“Herein lies the essential difference between fiction and nonfiction: Nonfiction tells us what is wrong and how to fix it; fiction holds a mirror up to our lives and allows us to apply the truth in an infinite number of individual ways.”

That quote by Penelope Stokes entered my mind as I sat before God in prayer one day. “God, I just want to be a mirror,” I insisted. It was never in my plan to have God turn my dreams upside-down. Had I known where God would be directing this whole Beyond Waiting journey, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog today. From the very beginning, I begged Him. “But God, I can’t do this. I write fiction.”

“No,” God corrected, “you write truth wrapped in the guise of a story.”

He was right, of course. He’s always right.

But there’s just something about a good story that brings the whole world into perspective for me. While I hear people say that they find the Old Testament to be culturally irrelevant, I discover some of my greatest life lessons in the history of these flawed human beings. Tell me a story, and I will find where God is hiding in the background. Every story ever told is all about Him. And for that reason, I long to tell His stories.

But of course, God wouldn’t simply have me telling stories- He’d have me stepping outside the box I had formed around my dreams. He would have me expanding the bounds of my imagination. He would still have me telling stories, but they would not always need to consist of the fictional characters that so easily become my reality.

So, writing this blog is me living my dream in a way I never dreamed possible, because only God could make me aware of the dreams I never knew I was dreaming. Only God could knock out the walls I had formed around my full potential. And only God could hold up His mirror and show me what He sees when He looks at my life.

So I’ve changed my tune (or at least my prayer.) I just want to be a mirror that reflects God’s glory.