Last night I drifted off to sleep thinking about the beauty of our stories and God’s story. In fact, I decided in those last few moments between awake and asleep that if I could do or be anything when I “grow up” (yeah, I know I’m 41, but a girl can dream) it would be spending my days encouraging people and reminding people of the incredible gift wrapped up in our stories.
It’s a topic I never get tired of talking about. It’s a topic that always gets my soul fired up.
Last night, at the women’s small group I attend, the topic of doubt came up. Our church is starting a new series called Doubter’s Anonymous this Sunday where questions people have will be addressed.
One of the ideas that came up in our group is that doubt often comes on the heels of bad or tragic things happening in life. We see bad things happen to us or to others and we question. Why God? How could you let that happen? Trials can rattle our faith.
Another area that seems to be an area of big doubt is truly believing that God loves us right here, right now. There is nothing we have done or could do that would make Him love us any less or more. Yet, our tendency to want to try to work for salvation can shake our faith and make us doubt the gift we have been given. And that gift is the work Christ did on our behalf when He went to the cross. Because of that great act of love, there truly is no condemnation.
And yet, the sucky parts of life happen, and we doubt.
This is why I think story is so important. This is why I think God left behind for us an entire Book of imperfect people of faith. The pages of the Bible are filled with people just like us, people who tended to forget and doubt His love and time and time again they ran away and tried to find salvation and purpose apart from God.
This is why I think my story and your story matter when we doubt or the people around us doubt. Last night, I shared again how God has the power and the desire to redeem our stories. I shared again how I’ve learned on my journey through life how God has found a way to turn the pain I’ve experienced, the sins I’ve committed, and failures I’ve had and use all of if for His glory. All of it! I’ve shared this before, but it’s crazy to get to a point on the road when even the death of a loved one becomes something beautiful. God reveals that beauty to us when we place the shattered pieces of our heart into His hands.
Yesterday on Facebook a friend of mine asked this question. “What is the most beautiful thing you have ever experienced?” My answer: Being by my mom’s side when she died. I guess only in hindsight things like that are beautiful.
And, ever since that moment 22 years ago of sitting by mom’s side holding her hand I can now see how God has transformed the worst pain of my life into something beautiful and useable. One of the most precious gifts we receive from the trials that we experience is the knowledge that they are not in vain.
When God gets His hand on it, watch out, amazing things start to happen. We get to walk with others through their pain and their trials. We get to share our stories of hope. We get to share God’s story of hope. I am not sure there is anything more beautiful in life than that!
Oh, and I just happened to be wearing my Storyline T-shirt last night at small group! It’s my favorite shirt!
Have you seen God redeem your story? Are you doubting He can? I’d love to hear your stories.