If the Bible is but God's story, and men are mere characters in it, then what about our stories? What about your story? What about my story?
Well, you're living it.
You're living your story right now, writing it one new page at a time, one new moment at a time, one new word at a time. No, that's not always a comfort when you're longing to know what your life means, when you're hoping to find it somewhere in the pages of another story so that you can finally understand not only who you are, but why. No, it's not a comfort when you're trying to figure out what to do next, where to go next, what happens tomorrow.
But here's the beautiful thing: every new page, every new moment, every new word that you write in your story is more than just your next chapter. It's a new chapter in God's story, too. Which means every word of your story is like every word of God's story: it's revelation.
Think about all of the men and women we turn to in the Bible. Think about Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Moses and Aaron, David, Solomon, Mary and Joseph, James and John, Simon and Andrew, Saul/Paul...their stories are written into God's story in this beautiful way. So that when we read their stories, we come to know God. And when we read God's story, we come to know them.
We come to know what it's like to receive the promises of God in the very same scene that we discover the God who makes promises. We come to know the God who intimately cares for His people in the same chapter that we recognize what it means to be a people who are cared for by God. We read about a man's incredible transformation and know, from that very story, the incredible transforming power of God. Over and over again, we discover that the story of God and the stories of men are so intertwined that we simply cannot learn something about the one without learning something about the other. And we're not talking about men in general; we're talking about specific men, specific women. Human beings we can call by name.
And the same is true for us.
Our stories, as they're being written even right now, are God's stories, too. Our lives are revelation. They declare something about the very nature of God - something about His goodness, something about His grace. Something about His love. When others read our stories, they discover something about God Himself.
And when they read God's stories, they discover something about us. Not some grand theory about mankind in general. Not some great story about the history of humankind. No. They discover the narrative of you. The narrative of me. By name. Our stories are being told.
That's what's so cool about it. We read God's story, and we could talk all day about what we know about the characters we find within it. We can talk about Adam and Eve not as abstract ideas, but as a real man and a real woman, the way we'd talk about the couple who used to live down the street. We can talk about Noah and his righteousness, but we can also talk about a man who built an ark, who was the father of three sons, who had his struggles with alcohol. We can talk about John the Baptist not merely as some prophet, but as the cousin of Jesus, the son of Zechariah. We can even talk about his wardrobe and his dietary choices. And think about all we could discuss regarding King Saul or King David! We could write entire books about either of them.
But if we did, we'd discover quickly that in reading their stories, we cannot help but read God's, too. That's how intimately interwoven they are. That's how intimately interwoven our stories are. We read the Bible and we know oh so much about all of these men and women, but the more we know about these men and women, the more we know about God. We can talk to one another, share our tables, stand in our streets and get to know each other, and the more we know about each other, the more we ought to know about God. Our lives are revelation.
Not to keep getting deeper and deeper into this interplay, but the more we know about God, the more we ought to know about each other, too. The more we know about God, the easier it ought to be to see the true nature, the true meaning, the true blessing of one another. The easier it ought to be to look at one another with grace, with compassion, with respect. With love. As we each write our story - one new page, one new moment, one new word at a time.
One new page, one new moment, one new word in our books...and in God's.
These are our stories. This is His story. This is life as we know it.