Since I was a little girl, I’ve devoured books with an insatiable appetite. With three younger siblings running around, this was no easy feat and I developed the ability to shut out literally any noise and hear only the voices of the story. To this day, I whiz through novels in a matter of days, even hours.
I love being immersed in another world and the hearts and minds of each character. But trying to escape through a book comes with a price and as a child I’d emerge at the end of each book, exhausted, hazy and blinking back into the real world. My world was not as exciting as whatever exotic land I’d been living in for those past few days and coming back down was a bumpy ride.
I’m beginning to think that maybe I read the Bible the same way. Interesting characters, exciting plot twists, extreme weather conditions, supernatural encounters, good stories- and then back to real life.
Because otherwise, isn’t it a little strange that we need to learn and be reminded of God’s plan for story telling? After all, I don’t think I know anyone whose relationship with Jesus wasn’t ignited, encouraged or nurtured by the stories of others. How forgetful we are.
Ironically, one of my favorite Bible stories points to that very thing. It’s in the book of Joshua when God commands the Israelites to build the monument of 12 stones when they reach the other side of the Jordan River. He had them build the monument because otherwise after a generation or two they’d forget what God had done and He saw it coming. Or in Numbers when God tells the Israelites to wear tassels on their garments to remind them to “remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and own eyes.” (Numbers 15.39)
We may think we’ve come a long way since then, but our memories are no better. These stories remind us that God knows exactly how wayward our hearts are and still remains faithful to us.
All this to say: how truly incredible is it that one of God’s favorite ways to draw people to Him is through other people’s messy brokenness?! It is so comforting to me to see this constant promise of Jesus that not only will He redeem me, he’s so invested in my mess, so willing to see it through, that He even shows it off to other people and calls it “hope.”
How many of us have people in our lives who instead of shoving our crap in a closet, they show us off to everyone near and dear to them, proud of every inch of us? It’s a kind of love, a kind of acceptance, that’s practically unheard of.
It’s exactly the kind of love worth talking about.