I recently heard a story about a man in Houston, who for decades wore his hostility toward the gospel on his sleeve. His daughter was a Christian, and over time, she became deeply involved in her local church. After 12 years of prayer and petition with the Lord, her father finally agreed to begin exploring Christianity. A few months later, this woman stood side-by-side with her father's friends and coworkers as he tearfully professed his faith and changed life. He died with Christ in baptism and was raised to walk in the newness of life.
The Power of Stories
Stories like this do a lot for the hearer. We are encouraged to keep on sharing the gospel and praying for the non-Christians in our lives. Our hope is renewed for family and friends that we have deemed a lost cause. It grows our faith and reminds us that God’s timing is not our timing. Sometimes it takes 12 days. Sometimes it takes 12 years. But most importantly, stories can remind us that God is in control, that He is the one doing the saving, not us.
Let’s not forget how important and necessary it is to share stories like this with one another. Don't believe the lie that your story isn't interesting or impressive. Our God brings us from death to life, which means there are no small stories. When anxiousness drives you to prayer and the Spirit of God brings peace and calm, tell someone! You never know who needs to hear it! When a staunchly non-Christian friend reaches out to ask for prayer, ask for prayer! When your community prays for him together, your community will share in the blessing of what may follow!
Just imagine. What if our Neighborhood Parishes were marked by this sort of storytelling? To do this well, we would need to know each other’s stories and the stories that are most meaningful to us.
God’s Story is Our Story
Story is one of God’s primary methods of communication with us. The entire Bible is the story of God’s work of redemption through Jesus, who himself was a storyteller! And within the larger story, there are many other true and encouraging stories that show us who God is and what He is doing. Whether it’s the story of Noah, Abraham, Sarah, David, Mary or Paul, the bible is filled with stories that offer hope, give us glimpses of God’s character, and ultimately point to Jesus.
Recently, a Sojourn brother of mine gave a non-Christian mutual friend a copy of a book exploring Christianity. Our parish has been praying for this non-Christian for months. And that’s all this story is — for now. But don’t miss how profound it is. This may be the first line of what we hope and believe will be a great story. And that great story will play its small part within the greatest story ever told, the Story of God redeeming a people to Himself. Because we are God's people, God's story is our story. It's the greatest story ever told, and we have the honor of telling it.