Written By: Jana DeLano
As our spiritual birthright, God invites us to participate in His grand redemptive narrative. The Bible is a collection of stories which God felt we needed to know and understand. I doubt if He wants us to know the stories because of the individuals or even the battles and victories. Rather, He wants us to experience how the stories make us feel. The stories reassure us that God is in every detail of our own stories. Universally, people have an innate feeling to know that someone cares, sees them for who they are, and accepts them. It’s important that we help others understand that God knows and accepts them even when their neighbors may not. We have an opportunity to provide that sense of caring and belonging for others too. We can create environments to foster belonging and create spaces to share our highs and lows. Millennials are more likely than any other generation to say they have felt loneliness and isolation due to stress in the past month. So, ask God who may need you to reach out to them! Reach outside your comfort zone and your usual circle of friends to invite others into your story. We all know someone who needs a friend.
God is the author of our stories! If we accept God as our savior and author, he will use our ordinary lives to fulfill his promise of a grand redemptive story. As God’s Word states in John 1:1-5, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” God has a plan for our lives! Our lives demonstrate our understanding of our brokenness, His plan for redemption, and our need for community. Our stories reveal who we are and our potential in Christ. In the 7 Family Ministry Essentials, Dr. Michelle Anthony explains, “The Big God Story gives us an accurate and awe-inspiring perspective into how God has been moving throughout history. It is the story of redemption, salvation, and hope and tells how we have been grafted into it by grace. It further compels us to see how God is using every person’s life and is creating a unique story that deserves to be told for His glory.”
It will take intentionality but to understand God’s grand redemptive narrative through the lens of other generations creates hope. Barbara Hirsch in Theology of Family Ministry says, “They need the telling of stories, the close ongoing contact so they can learn and be accepted. If nobody is there to talk to, it is difficult to get the lessons of your own life so that you are adequately prepared to do the next thing.” Allow me to encourage you that the plot twist which seems overwhelming is not surprising to God. He is resolute and His Word is our constant. Show others what you believe God’s purpose is for your story. Don’t allow the wrong part of the story to impede your progress! Sometimes, the plot twists and betrayal will churn our insides. In those moments, God desires our hearts to turn to Him and we can model how to discern the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. Each story of our lives will have a distinct impact and will live on through generations as the church family and our family members share our stories. Let the author of life write your story.
Learn to share your story! It’s so important that we don’t project the image that we have our mess under control. Instead, be authentic and share those moments when God is building your faith muscles. Those younger than you need to know how to maintain an open communication and be authentic. Model for those younger than yourself how to include every generation.
The story of death and resurrection is timeless. It gives us the needed hope for generations to come. Yet our stories are so much more than just a summary of accomplishments for a eulogy. Our stories are about how we treat people, how we make them feel, and the feelings that will remain long after our earthly bodies return to dust. We know the ending of our stories reunites us with our Creator and that hope will sustain you. God wins the battle over Satan. In that environment of belonging, share with others how you experience the Holy Spirit at work in your daily life. Tell the stories of our faith!