Last time we went to Oz with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Lion. Was there more to the story than you remembered? How clear might any of us be about . . . the one thing we most need?
That’s pretty heavy, I know. We are just talking about a children’s story, after all. But I have learned that stories are never just stories. Especially “children’s” stories. In fact, I owe my life to stories.
I was wandering through midlife, trying to mind my own business, trying to lead a good life, but the truth of it was worse than I’d ever imagined. It is a long story, for another time. But, God used stories to get my attention, to wake me up, and ultimately to reveal Himself to me. My life has never been the same.
At some point, I began to realize that God’s story, the story He has always told in the Bible, but also the story He speaks directly to our hearts — has somehow found its way, over and over again, into a great many other stories. And most surprising of all, the great majority of these authors, do not believe in this God . . . at all. In fact, they would give other reasons altogether why they wrote the story they did. But there it is, nevertheless.
Now, you might not be convinced. That is good, we all need to work out things for ourselves. But . . . if there is any possibility that what I am saying is true, it would suggest:
There is something in control of this world so great, so encompassing, that it can control the minds of hearts of writers, influence what they say or don’t say in a story, without their awareness this is even occurring. Could something that incredible be true?
We will talk more about this before long, but for now, I’d like to present a piece of evidence for just how powerful and persuasive stories can be. It is the story of King David and Bathsheba, from 2 Samuel 11 and 12.
King David knew God, as a matter of fact, he was called “the man after God’s own heart.” But you can know God and still forget Him, forget what is important and pursue other things. This is, in fact, the whole story of the Bible: Remember. Forget. Remember. Forget. And that is the story of God’s people. It is all very sad.
On one particular day, the man after God’s own heart chooses to become “the man after another man’s wife.” In just a heartbeat, David has this woman summoned to the palace, sleeps with her and has her returned home. She had done her duty. It is all very sad.
This woman, Bathsheba, becomes pregnant and tells David, but he is determined to keep his secret. David immediately has her husband, Uriah, return home from war — in the hope he will sleep with his wife and ultimately believe the child is his. But Uriah is so honorable, that he will not spend the night with his wife while his comrades are still fighting and sleeping in a field. The soldier’s honor will not be extinguished. The king’s honor has flamed out.
At this point, not seeming to have any other options, the king contrives to have Uriah killed in battle in such a way that no one is the wiser. Alas, the secret will never be known. Surprisingly, David has so lost his way he uses murder to cover up adultery. Unconfessed guilt and shame may only dig the hole deeper.
Finally, with nothing (or no one) standing in the way, David marries Bathsheba and brings her to the palace. Quite a beginning for a romance, huh?
And I hate to keep you hanging, but the conclusion will take a little too long. Stay tuned.
Welcome, I'm Sam!
A fellow traveler on this journey we call life and this path we call the Christian faith, wanting to speak to anyone who will listen about the incredible things that God (only because of His incredible grace) chose to reveal to me. Stories have always been a mirror in which we can see ourselves, if we only look more closely. We are all like the children of Israel in the wilderness, wanting and needing to establish ourselves in the promised land. Stories can help us to get there, and to flourish there.
I can't wait to get to know you!