Stories. I love stories. I love the feeling of clarity a good story gives me. I love that feeling I get when a good story touches some deep part of me and opens my eyes again to wonder.
The common threads in stories that evoke such emotion are overcoming adversity, break through in discovery, achieving something of immense value, and love.
I resonate with what I’ve heard described by Chesterton about the true myth. The reason I think I love stories so much is because they are able to reach a deep part of me that longs for and aches for the true story of God’s love for me. As much as I talk about and think in terms of ‘significance’ and ‘meaning’, ‘purpose’ and other grand themes, I think that what I really need and long for is Love.
A mother’s love for a child that empowers that child to achieve excites me in as much as it reminds me of God’s love for me. I see in her smile and her embrace, His. Her resilience is a shadow of His.
A man working and striving to overcome all the odds to achieve his dream, to become famous and successful and popular and, significant. It stirs me to believe for myself of course, but deeper than this it touches the part of me where the gospel scratches deepest. It reminds of the ultimate pot of gold at the end of the only rainbow that really matters; knowing Jesus.
He is the home the hobbit longs for and the goal the athlete shoots for. He is significance and meaning.
I loves stories because in stories I discover the most truly human part of me. Stories remind me of my God-imaged-ness. They remind me that I was made with appetites nothing in this world will ever be able to satisfy. They remind me of the wonder God sprinkled every part of human existence with, the hurt and the pain, the joys and delight. Stories, the best stories, raise me above the average flat landscape of most moments. Stories allow me to encounter God.
And that’s why I daydream of preaching. The gospel is the ultimate story, the interface between longing and satisfaction. It is this gospel I was made to communicate and when I say ‘made’ to I mean, love to. I’m not making a statement of competency but of satisfaction.
He satisfies more than anything else and his gospel enriches life, indeed it enables me to fully enjoy life and fully appreciate and enjoy other people.
Stories are more than folklore passed on to enable our species to survive. They give us meaning, balance and purpose and the ultimate story gives us the ultimate meaning, balance and purpose possible.
The gospel is my ballast in life. I pray I never stray far from this tree.
by Jez Field