By Rev. Ed Kast
Peace Pastor Emeritus
Christianity is not a system of beliefs, concepts and laws that popped out of human heads. It resulted from God revealing Himself through events that really happened in history.
The Bible is the captivating, life-changing record of these events. It is a grand narrative of the great conflict between God and Satan with us human beings caught in the middle. The Biblical Story recounts our fall and God’s plan to restore us through His promised Messiah Jesus.
Seventy-five percent of the Bible is in narrative form. It’s a world history book, which includes the Main Actor that secular history books leave out.
Stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts or truths alone. A list of disconnected items is very hard to remember. But weave those items or thoughts into a story, and they become very easy to remember.
Then if the characters and events stir powerful emotions, the story and its message are seared into our memory forever. That’s why our doctrines are set in the context of God’s Story, which we call salvation history, unfolded by a very personal and awesomely compassionate Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Bible stories have been told and retold, but they never lose their power. One would think that familiarity on the part of readers and hearers would lessen the effect, that there would be no element of surprise and therefore no suspense, which is a necessary ingredient in good storytelling. But when we identify with the characters and the story’s message, the scenes live again.
Our lower story keeps changing and God’s Upper Story keeps meeting us at the point of our changing needs. We feel the mixed emotions of Abraham as God calls him to wander into the unknown. What scary unknown am I facing? Can I trust God to lead me safely on paths untrodden or unplanned by me?
We feel the impatience of Sarai as she longs to give Abraham a son while her biological clock is winding down. What am I longing for? Why do I have to wait so long? Will my deepest longing ever be satisfied?
We feel the anguish of Abraham and the fearful confusion of Isaac as Abraham prepares to sacrifice his only son as God had commanded. And then the profound relief of both when God provides a lamb. What do I sense God is calling me to give up? Can I trust that God has my best interests at heart? Can I trust that His grace will be sufficient for me in my trials? Can I count on the victorious outcome God promises? Chapter 2 of THE STORY may puzzle us with strange events. But it is also filled with stories that nourish our souls with help for today and hope for tomorrow. God’s Story is not just ancient history. It’s good news now. It’s the Living Word of the Living God speaking directly to each of us.