“Once upon a time, a mother and her young son, Jack, lived together in a small cottage near a green wood. They were poor, but they managed to earn money from their milk cow…” Both of my children look up at me with wide eyes, completely enthralled from the moment I utter the words, “once upon a time.” They listen intently as I tell the old tale of Jack, the magic beans, an oversized beanstalk, and a giant in the sky. And, really, who wouldn’t want to hear such a fantastical story? It’s fun to daydream of an imaginary land where anything can happen, and the hero always wins.
You would think that nothing could beat a fairytale. But interestingly my children are often more engrossed when I give them true accounts from my very own childhood. They want to hear something real about my life. Not every story about mom catches their attention, but the ones that do cause more wonder than even a beanstalk that grew into the clouds. I was the same way when I was a little girl. I loved to hear stories from my parents’ past about what toys they played with and what they ate, who their friends were and how they celebrated holidays.
Now, just imagine the impact we could make if we would consistently tell the stories that are both supernatural and authentic. These are the stories of a divine God pursuing and loving and changing and working through the regular, ordinary human beings that live on this earth.
If you are a Christ follower, then you have these stories to tell. You can look back at your life and recall some monumental and astonishing moments when God was obviously present. You can remember the times when He revealed more of His character to you. You may even have witnessed God defy the laws of nature to perform a miracle. The fact is that our God is mighty and powerful, and yet He cares about even the smallest and seemingly insignificant among us. With that odd and wonderful combination, there are stories to be told!
May I suggest a rhythm of reflection, gratitude, and storytelling? These three go hand in hand. They feed into each other. When you reflect on God’s glorious character and on the amazing things He has done, it leads to thanksgiving. And when you are filled with thanks to God, it spills over into storytelling because your grateful heart wants to tell those around you about God’s goodness.
David writes in Psalm 145:5, 9-12, “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate…The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made. All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.” Did you catch that pattern? Reflection, gratitude, storytelling.
Begin to soften your heart by reading through all of Psalm 145. Then take some time to reflect on what you read, and personalize it by thinking back to what God has specifically done in your life this year. When your heart is filled with gratitude, let it overflow. Praise God, and thank Him.
But don’t stop there! Tell someone else! Share your story. Tell others about God’s goodness. It will benefit both the speaker and the listener.
Perhaps the best part of sharing God’s story is that we do already know the ending. And it isn’t something imaginary or pretend. It’s the honest truth. God wins. And His people get to live with Him happily ever after. Now that’s a good story.