Thursday, May 14, 2020

Rooted in Story

Yesterday, we finally unwrapped a little bit about who Hammedatha from Agag was and how that adds depth and meaning to the story of Haman, where it is nothing more than a parenthetical reference. But we saw how God was exposing something about the heart and character of Haman by tying it into this story, rather than by just telling us in plain terms what He wanted us to know about Haman. After all, He could have just written, "Haman is a troublemaker who is pretty sure he's untouchable."

But isn't it cool that God roots all these little details in story? Man, that's just like Him.

We don't like that. Not a lot of the time. We like to think of ourselves as recipes. You take a little bit of this, a little bit of that, another measure of this other thing, and you knit them all together in a womb and nine months later...bam! You have us. We'd like to be able to quantify and qualify ourselves and put it all down on paper. We'd like to have it in list form, where we could point to a certain quality and say, there it is. Right there. I'm 42%...whatever it is.

In fact, most of us bristle at the idea that we are in any way shaped by the experiences that we've had or the relationships we've been a part of or the time and place in which we happen to live. We want to believe that we are who we are, and that we would continue to be exactly the same thing no matter what context you put us into. We want to believe that we are writing our own story, not that our stories are writing us.

But the truth is that it's both. Our stories shape us. They both inspire and relate all of the little things that add depth and meaning to our lives, to our own character. We are shaped by the lives that we've lived, by the persons that we've lived them with, by the cultures in which we live. And there are a lot of things you could say about us that you could just outright say, but when you write them in as details of our story, it adds a whole different layer to it.

We are just not recipes. We're not. Human beings are not things that can be cooked up in a lab. You can't lock yourself in a closet with a bunch of ingredients and come up with anything that is remotely like you are. You're just more complicated than that, and the heart of a man is not a science.

It's an art.

We are beings like brushstrokes on a canvas. In some places, wide; in others, narrow. Some marks are heavy with the freshness of new paint; others trail off as the paint starts to be used up. Some streaks are bold, made with a confident and convicted hand; others fade with the lightest of touches. The colors of our lives change as our encounters and adventures and experiences change; we are not simply flesh-colored forever. We become this mix of vibrant and dull and bold and muted and splashy and exacted and everything in between. We are canvases on which our stories, and the story of God, are unfolding all the time, and it is the richness of the interplay of the colors that reveals who we are. That add that depth and meaning that we are all looking for.

And that means, among other things, that we ought to boldly live into our stories. That we ought to keep working toward writing the stories we want, sure, but that we should never lose sight of the ways that our stories are writing us. We should always be in tune with the way that God's brush is moving on our canvas. And that we should never be ashamed of that.

Because there are a lot of things you could say about any of us, and they might even be true. But tell it in our stories, and it says even more than we could have imagined. Tell it in God's story, and it's greater still.

Haman was a troublemaker who was convinced of his own invincibility. But he was also the son of Hammedatha, from Agag.

Who are you?

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