Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Story of Life

What exactly is a story anyway? One definition refers to story as a narrative, an account of events or experiences, either fictitious or true. As you know, stories develop as the main character works to overcome each and every obstacle, sometimes successfully, but sometimes not.

Stories grow – usually building interest through an escalating development of events leading up to a peak, the most dramatic and suspenseful place, where an outcome cannot yet be presumed. In classrooms, this framework is often referred to as a “story mountain.” From that high point, the story’s climax, tension declines and the author begins tying up loose ends, ultimately coming to the resolution.

As I reflect on my life, I can see some distinct parallels to the story structure I once taught children. I can look back down my “story mountain” and see miles of events. It’s all there with its various goals, milestones, obstacles, and defeats. I see answers to prayer where the Lord carried me through trials and led me to higher ground with overcoming victories. God was faithful even when the waters ran deep, fires raged, and unimagined grief was written into the pages of my life.

Now in my seventh decade, life on the “mountain” looks different. Though it’s possible for great achievements to be written, in place of lofty goals, I have a restless stirring in my soul, and an accompanying desire to prepare for this tale’s resolution. As a Christian, what does this mean? Ultimately, my earthly story will conclude; I will enter a new joy, living in the presence of the glory of God … a heavenly eternity, the promise of salvation! Jesus says in John 10:27-28 NLT: My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me.” Unending joy and perfect peace await when this story ends.

But, I ask, what about the here and now of my earthly story? Reflecting on the sappy-sweet holiday movies we watch, it seems all misunderstandings and obstacles are overcome in the last ten minutes of air time. Obviously, in real life, we are not assured of such fictional, happily-ever-after endings. However, God did not leave us without instruction. Romans 12:19 NLT tells us: “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” 

As I stand looking back at my life story, the Lord has refined my focus with clarity. In Luke 10:27 NLT, Jesus tells us simply how to prepare for the resolution: “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

As I encounter various trials of aging, I am increasingly aware that this mortal shell will not make it out of this story alive! The clock keeps ticking, but that’s okay. In 2 Corinthians 1:9 NLT, the Bible tells us, “… we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves, and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT explains that we are to “encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” So with a laser focus on my life’s resolution I will aspire to walk daily with praise for my Savior and love others the best I know how. My legacy must illuminate the core theme of my life story: Jesus Christ is Messiah.

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