Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Be the story you want to read

I love Francine Rivers' book A Voice in the Wind. (Part of the Mark of the Lion series) An incredible story in it's own right. But it's also historical fiction meaning that all the characters and settings are historically accurate. Only the main characters were created.

Even more, the message of the book is life-changing. There's really no better way to describe it. This novel affected me profoundly.

So with vacation approaching I decided to purchase the sequel (An Echo in the Darkness) and read it over vacation. So it landed on my nightstand eager to be read...calling to me...so I began reading it (just a little, mind you).

As my eye caught it before our 9-day trip to Curacao I thought, "That would be nice to have on the plane..." Next thing I knew, it had jumped into my backpack ready for the trip.

Now it seems that God had more on his mind than me enjoying this epic series. He wanted to teach me a profound lesson. On the plane on the way down to Curacao, I felt God clearly impress on me the following message:

"Be the story you so want to read." 

In other words, instead of always reading great stories about others (true and fictional), seek Me with all your heart and be a part of The Story!

This was a great reminder and challenge of what I already knew but often fail to practice.

We hunger because we're made to eat good food. We thirst because we're made to drink refreshing drink. We crave significance because we are made to be profoundly significant. (see part 2 of this video interview by John Piper of Louie Giglio. Louie speaks to this very thing there) And we crave good stories because we were made to be in that story. His story.

So as I planned what I would talk about on the youth retreat and in the Sunday services in Curacao, the love of God kept coming back. The theme for both were missions and evangelism which point to this "Love God, love people" thrust we so often emphasize. But God reminded me that His love precedes all of that. For some reason that took me to Hosea.

So I preached about Hosea's love for an unfaithful, wife and prostitute, God's love for an unfaithful nation (Israel), and God's love for us even when we're unfaithful.

As I watched the response during both invitations that Sunday morning, tears filled my eyes. The reality that lives had been profoundly touched because of God working through me and others was humbling.

At least 4 had trusted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Others were repentant and broken over pride and sin. Others rededicated their lives. It was a day where God's story was unfolding visibly and dramatically.

And I wasn't reading about it - I was a (small) part of that story. 

So by the end of our trip, I finished the book. And it did not disappoint! The story vividly displays God's amazing love, grace and mercy. It does this in the context of first century Rome and Ephesus and challenges us of faith to the core of our beliefs.

And while I finished reading the story, I had more importantly been a part of the bigger story the novel points to. The Story of God.

So I encourage you today - Be the story you want to read.