The dawning of the nineteenth century brought about the birth of nations. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm chased down folk and fairy tales, realizing that it was in the telling of Germany’s stories that identity could be unearthed.
The Book of Judges opens on a contrasting landscape: the people had forgotten their stories and so they lost sight of who they were each time they were conquered.
But many years later, an eight-year-old king discovered some forgotten scrolls and sought out a storyteller. Although Judah was later conquered by many empires, in the telling of their stories, they remembered who they were even though it would be centuries until they had a land to call their own.
In telling our stories, we tap into an incredible source of strength and power, not only for us but for those around us as well. Revelation 12:11 tells us that when the enemy attacks, we overcome “by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of [our] testimony.”
In telling our stories, we have the power to overcome.
Although our stories are filled with twists and turns, we have the bright hope and blessed assurance that one day He will call us into yet another new story – one that He has been preparing for years.
Rather than reaching the point of happily ever after, we will realize that our once upon a time is really only just beginning.
A story is not a story without a plot and a plot is not a plot without conflict. Because of a central conflict, we cheer for the hero and boo the villain. A story’s conflict gives the plot its structure.
The conflict that governs so many of our stories predates us by many, many years – one that played out on a balcony of heaven where Satan rebelled against God. This same conflict, in different manifestations, continues to play out in the lives of humanity.
Our own personal plots play out as we encounter conflicts with nature and mortality. When illness strikes, this conflict often takes center stage. The difficulties we encounter in relationships with others elaborate on our personal conflict plots.
Still, perhaps the darkest battles we fight are the ones located deep within us – as we find ourselves at war within ourselves. These are the conflicts that are hard to explain because they are so intensely personal.
Our conflicts are what make up our stories.
The basic structure of beginning, middle, and end are set up around the conflict that we hope will be resolved. The beauty of our stories is that God always has a plan for resolution and restoration.
No matter how conflicts have defined us or continue to govern our stories, there is always hope when we stop trying to solve and explain every conflict on our own and invite Him into the process of writing our stories.