The Power of Story

The Power of Story

Author: Mark Terry
Published: September 1, 2019
Consider these two sentences: Let’s eat, Grandma. Let’s eat Grandma. One comma is all the difference between your loved one being the guest of honor or the main course!
It is amazing how the same words, told in a different way, can have a different meaning. I remember talking with a woman who was serving on a jury for a medical malpractice case. After the first day of testimony from the plaintiff, she told us, “It was terrible what this doctor did!” Then when we saw her at the end of the trial, and asked about the outcome, she said, “Oh, we found in favor of the doctor.”
Two stories about the same tragedy were shared, and the jury found the doctor’s story more compelling. The doctor’s story compelled the jury to act in a certain way (find him not liable): that is the power of story.
How the people of the Old Testament told the stories of Abraham and Jacob and Joseph; of Moses and Gideon; the stories kept them faithful in difficult times. And their faithfulness was enough that God sent us Jesus Christ for the salvation of the world.
We are called to share the story of Jesus Christ with the world, to help other people see that the story of Jesus Christ is their story as well. And our effectiveness in sharing the story of Jesus is directly conditional on how we tell our own story. So, what is your story? When you look at your life, are you inspired to keep serving and sharing? No matter how difficult our life may be, one learning I take away from scripture is that there is always a way to look at things that points us to the glory of God.
Fairy tales often begin with “Once Upon a Time”, but we’re not looking to get people to believe in a fairy tale. Our stories should begin with, “God has been so good to me.” If you start your story from that place, I think you will be surprised not only how that can reframe the story you tell yourself, but how it can actually move you to a better place.
The best stories don’t only bring the past to life: they speak to us in our present circumstances and guide us to a better future. And there is no better story than God blessing this world with the gift of his Son Jesus Christ. Because we believe, our stories have become part of that story, and it is important that we tell our story well: not only for the sake of our own joy in living today; but for the sake of those who might come to believe through us.
So, may our stories honor the truth that God loves us with a grace greater than our sins, with a mercy that heals our brokenness. Our story doesn’t have to be exciting for people to want to believe: it simply has to be true to the love that Christ first shared with us.
Pastor Mark