By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
The darkness of night poured over the desert. The cold came on quick, so fires were constructed and groups of people huddled around them, blankets thrown over their shoulders.
Three different family units surrounded the fire that night. Somewhere a baby whined and a mother shushed and consoled. The children danced and played as the flickering light played over their hair and their smiles. Some adults spoke in hushed tones about the day’s events, others peered into the fire as if it was a puzzle to be solved.
Then he came. Everyone stopped and fell silent.
The man was old and his skin was dark and weathered. His long beard shot from his chin like a grey lighting bolt, staggering in different directions. His walk was slow and bent. Everyone’s eyes followed him as he made his way to the rock that was left bare for him.
He sat and began to speak, “The king of Egypt finally died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.”
He went on to tell a story. Their story. It wasn’t the first time they’d heard it and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
For the Israelites, stories were ingrained in their culture. They told stories, passed down stories, remembered stories, and reflected on stories. These stories were their history but they also shed light on their future. Stories gave direction on how to live your life and how to treat others. Revealed in them was the nature of God.
Stories were indispensable.
And maybe we’ve lost that.
We don’t tell good stories anymore. Sure, we might tell people about a funny anecdote or share about our bad days, but we rarely share good stories.
Good stories always begin with hopelessness. An impossible situation. Disappointment. Or, in the case of the Israelites, groaning and crying out under the weight of slavery.
But good stories never find their end amidst the hopelessness. But there comes a twist when deliverance is found and a savior arrives. Someone who provides comfort, prevision, and grace when it didn’t seem possible.
Then, good stories end. And their endings are always filled with laughter, thanksgiving, and praise.
These good stories are never told once. But instead, like the good stories of the Old Testament, they are shared again and again and again. Like a family inheritance, they are passed down from generation to generation. It is drastically important that they are not forgotten, but instead good stories demand to be remembered.
So, what’s your good story? Everyone has one. When was a time when everything looked hopeless and yet provision arrived and praise ensued?
We no longer have the opportunity to gather around the fire nightly and share the good stories with multiple generations at once. But we do live in an age in which communication is easier than ever.
So share your stories.
Especially the good ones.