A favorite pastime of mine is reading a good book while curled up with a cozy blanket and sipping a cup of hot tea. Historical fiction is the genre I’m usually drawn to. I enjoy history and love a good story woven throughout the past.
Lately, I’ve had many opportunities to learn more about people. These people are new to our church, new to my parent or friend group, or even casual, impromptu meetings with talkative strangers in doctor’s offices. In addition to new encounters, I’ve also had the opportunity to have conversations with long-time friends and hear something about their lives I never knew.
In all such instances, I was reminded that everyone has a story. Everyone!
Everyone has a story that may include challenges, accomplishments, heartache, interesting family dynamics, losses, and “wins.”
Some people’s stories include more sadness than joy, even regret and deep pain. While others include great examples of transformation and restoration.
As I listen to these stories the Holy Spirit softly reminds me to be sensitive and understanding to my friends and acquaintances because their stories are a part of who they are. Their life story impacts their perspective, attitude, and overall outlook on life. Their reactions, personality, convictions, passions, and even relationships can be directly or indirectly correlated to their life story.
The Bible, God’s ultimate story of love and grace, has countless characters with their own stories. They were sinful people like us who had their share of struggles and triumphs. We have the great advantage to have the Bible in its entirety at our fingertips. We can read a passage and see God’s Hand in a character’s life from beginning to end. We can see how God was in control the whole time, even when they were unaware.
In contrast, the people we rub shoulders with from day to day are still living out their story.
God isn’t finished yet! I find it amazing and humbling to think that Jesus can dramatically change and guide our stories if we allow Him.
A horrible past doesn’t have to mean a doomed present. A life can be renewed, secret sins can be erased, and the weak can be strong all because of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
I love to hear people who share their stories and can attest to the power of our Lord. It is such an encouragement to my soul. Hearing about God’s transformative love and grace energizes me! It’s almost like an imaginary “high five” from my Savior reminding me of His greatness. I imagine Him saying, “See, Kim. I’m bigger than all of this! Life can be hard, but I am here, no matter what! My grace is sufficient. My power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).” In our crazy life stories, He is still very much in control.
If we are still breathing, our story isn’t over yet. Those of us who are Christ followers know we have the perfect ending to our story – eternal life in heaven with our Savior. However, in the meantime, Jesus, the “author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) has more chapters to write. He is the creator and sustainer of our faith. Am I letting Him sustain me no matter what twists and turns come my way? When my faith is shaken will I strive to endure and hold fast?
I pray my story will point others to Him, no matter how many unexpected, challenging, or joyful chapters there are!