Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Swirls and Stories

Life can be a swirl. Especially as you get older, as life gets more complex, as the household expands, as responsibilities increase, and as time seems to get shorter. Or, if you are a Shomo (like I am), there is something we call “the Shomo swirl” which traps young and old alike—it’s quite treacherous.

So I find it interesting that as God leads the Israelites out of Egypt, and prepares them for life in the promised land, he gives them the Ten Commandments, tells them to love him with all their heart-mind-soul-strength, and also tells them this:

When your son asks you in time to come, “What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?” then you shall say to your son, “We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give our fathers. ...” (Deuteronomy 6:20-23)

God is preparing them for the swirl. He is preparing them for the days to come when things are kind of mundane, yet awfully distracting. For when it would be easy to lose sight of their great privileges and unique purpose, because there are bills to pay and kids to raise.

So he gives them a (true) story to anchor themselves in. He would not be showing signs and wonders every day of the week, because human beings weren’t designed to live in such continual upheaval. Yet they need to remember the tremendous things he has done so that they do not lose their sense of identity and destiny.

We should likewise have ourselves anchored in a story. We should keep track of the great things God has done in our life, what previous generations of Christians called a testimony—a story of God’s goodness. We should remind ourselves of the privilege of knowing and serving God, and pass this on to our kids.


We should also connect our personal story (what a previous generation of Christians called our “personal testimony”) to the Greatest Story. After all, our salvation and identity, if we are believers, traces back to those Israelites in Egypt. And the story runs all the way through the Old and New Testament, and includes especially the saving death and resurrection of Jesus the Son of God.

I’m aware that I’m not saying much here that’s new. But practically, I wonder if we really do this. Or, if you are like a Shomo, does life seem more like a swirl than a meaningful, rich story?

Speaking of Shomos, I’m glad that my story contains a lot of interesting characters. In the Bible, and in my family. But most of all that it contains Jesus.

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