I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased
And that I’m never alone
You’re a good good father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am
- Chris Tomlin, Good Good Father
Everyone loves a good story. The phrases “once upon a time” and “long ago in a galaxy far away” engage us in a different way than normal conversation. Our penchant for stories is one of the ways God made us in His image; he is the ultimate storyteller. People refer to the Bible in many different ways, but ultimately the Bible is God’s story.
In fact, approximately seventy-five percent of scripture consists of narrative, fifteen percent is expressed in poetic forms and only ten percent is propositional and overtly instructional in nature. – Colin Harbinson tweet
Sharing God’s story can come with great difficulty, as acknowledging God’s character sheds light on our own. Speaking about God’s movement in our personal lives means we must get personal when we share with others. Tragically, it’s easier to share cold statements of fact about God than to speak on how deeply God’s story (the Bible) impacts our day-to-day narrative–despite this world’s hunger for heartwarming stories which point to truth. When we speak of an impersonal God in a distant manner, we leave room for misinterpretation of God’s character and his story. God, the protagonist who sacrificially saves humanity, may be recast as the villain who seeks to destroy the defenseless at every turn. Revisiting and remembering God’s story clarifies God’s character when our circumstances create confusion around God’s nature. Jesus told stories often to teach us God’s story.
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)
Jesus reveals several truths in this story. First: persistence pays off. When we face someone seemingly unresponsive, our faithful consistency can produce results. Secondly, Jesus teaches that God, unlike the unjust judge, cares about us and our needs. Jesus asks the rhetorical question in the passage, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” The answer is: Of course he will, because he’s nothing like that unjust judge! God cares and responds, which makes this a story of hope. God’s story expresses his passionate efforts to redeem broken people.
The promise of redemption means we can be made whole through forgiveness, rescued by God and established as his children in spite of our past. God sends us out as his messengers of redemption in a similar way to how he sent Jesus.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17
The word “save” means to rescue from danger. God sent Jesus to rescue creation–humanity, animals, and the natural world–by providing hope for restoration. God entrusts us with his story so everyone can know restoration.
Effectively telling God’s story involves knowing it, understanding your role in it, listening to someone else’s, and sharing the narrative with others. When we persistently tell the story like the widow in Jesus’ parable did, we experience transformational shifts. While those hearing the story change, we are transformed through actively remembering God’s goodness in our lives.
- Reread the parable Jesus told about the widow. What role do you tend to see God play in your personal life? Unjust judge? Good Father?
- Reflect on an inaccurate story you’ve heard about God. How have you experienced him in your life as a good Father?
- Why is telling stories important when we talk about God?
- Commit a story that reveals God’s character to memory and share it today. (Suggestions: Luke 15:1-10, Luke 18:1-8, Matthew 18:21-35, John 3:14-18)
Written by: Rasool Berry
Edited by: Christina Utley