I’ve made it known before how much I love stories. From The Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter to The Inheritance Cycle to Grisham Novels, I love stories. I especially love the genre known as fantasy fiction. For me, it’s the crème de la crème.
And I have become convinced that God is the greatest story-teller to ever live. By story-teller, I don’t mean that the Bible is a work of fiction (though, by no means is the Bible straightforward history at every turn of the page). But story speaks of drama, plot, setting, characters, point of climax, etc. It speaks of emotion, life, hurt, victory, disappointment, hero, etc. It grips you deep within!
And when you start in Genesis 1 and run right through to Revelation 22, you get a sense of an unfolding drama, a story that is.
I remember a professor or author (my memory of the exact person fails me) once remarking how it is interesting that children’s Bibles never add in much of the epistles, like Paul’s letters. These are not so concerned with the communication of developed theology. What we find within their pages are the narrative, storied portions of Scripture.
Think about it.
It’s stories that are filled with people with whom we can relate. We can imagine ourselves as Frodo or Arwen or Aragorn. We put ourselves in the shoes of a Maximus Decimus Meridius from Gladiator or Jean Valjean of Les Miserables or Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia. We do the same with Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Aaron, Deborah, David, Matthew and Luke.
There is something unique about each and every story ever told. There are always elements of the eternal deep within its pages, even if the author never intended such. There is wickedness and rebellion, but also redemption and sacrifice. Whether it a battle story, love story or adventure story, we find elements of the unseen, eternal kingdom hidden at every turn.
For some, they don’t like to read. I love it! But I also greatly enjoy a movie or drama-based series on television. One doesn’t have to be a bookworm to enjoy story. I am thankful for the invention of the big screen. Or maybe it’s live plays and musicals for others.
But each and every form of story can grip the heart. Some are better than others, but whatever form to which we are drawn, let us truly be drawn in. Let us listen, let us learn, let us be moved. Despise not the simple and thrilling experience of story in all its various forms.
And don’t be surprised if you sense something of God, something of the eternal as you engage story. Even in reading Scripture, don’t approach it as mainly an instruction manual. There are direct truth statements, there are commands, there are exhortations, there are challenges. But there are also poems and stories and songs and parables and imagery and visions and dreams, all under the sweeping story that runs from beginning to end. And just like every story, God’s begin ‘once upon a time’ (i.e. ‘in the beginning’).
Stories are amazing. God is a story-teller. We were meant for story. We live in a story, one where he is the main character. If only are eyes and ears, even all 5 senses, would be awakened to the story of God!