“I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?” – Samwise Gamgee in “The Two Towers”
If you are familiar with The Lord of the Rings, you might remember this quote from Sam. He and Frodo have left the safety of the Shire and are on a journey to quite literally save the world from evil. It is dangerous and difficult. But Sam realizes that his life is a story, and it is part of a bigger story.
Books and movies are popular because people love stories. But what we don’t often realize is that our lives are stories that God is writing, and that our lives are part of a bigger story. God wants us to know our stories and understand how our stories fit into the bigger picture of His story.
There are a couple of reasons it is important to understand this truth. The first is simply that we will never really understand life until we can see how our story fits in with God’s story. We need to be able to see the big picture of how our lives are part of God’s story so that we can make sense of what is going on in our lives, in our families, and in our relationships.
The second reason is that telling our stories may be the most effective way of communicating the Good News of Jesus to our culture. When we share with people what God has been doing in our lives, how we have seen Him at work, the prayers that He has answered, they cannot deny the truth of our stories. In a culture where many people do not believe in absolute truth and do not believe that the Bible is God’s Word, telling our stories can often be the entry point for them to be willing to hear truth from God’s Word.
Jesus said in Acts 1 that we will be His witnesses, which implies that we will have something to say about Him. And we should be able to tell our own stories about how God has worked in our lives, not just give second-hand testimony to what God has done 2,000 years ago in the lives of others.
So this year in our Student Leadership Institute (SLi) we had the 8th graders prepare and share their stories with one another. It was an amazingly powerful and profound time to hear the students be vulnerable and open with one another. The power of people sharing their stories was incredible. They laughed together, they cried together and they learned more about each other. And by hearing the stories, they were also able to see a little bit more of the big picture of God’s story.
Next week those same 8th graders will graduate from ECS and move on to other schools. My hope and prayer for them is that they will be able to share their stories in ways that will help others to know the hope and love of Jesus.