God is not merely the Creator of our life. He is also the Author of our life, and he writes each person’s life to reveal his divine story. There never has been nor ever will be another life like mine—or like yours. Just as there is only one face and name like mine, so there is only one story like mine. And God writes the story of my life to make something known about himself, the One who wrote me. The same is true of you. Your life and mine not only reveal who we are, but they also help reveal who God is.
Neither your life nor mine is a series of random scenes that pile up like shoes in a closet. We don’t have to clear out old stories to make room for new ones. Both your story and mine have unique characters, surprising plot twists, central themes, tension and suspense, and deep significance. Each is an intriguing tale, and neither is fiction. Our story is truer than any other reality we know, and each of us must discover the meaning of what God has written as our life story. In our story God shows us what he’s up to and what he wants us to be about.
We are to keep writing, moving forward into the plot that God has woven into the sinews of our soul.
God also creates a story with each person’s life—a story that we are meant to tell. And since we are called to tell our story, we are also called to listen to the stories of others. And since we are to tell and to listen, then even more so we are called to encourage others to know and tell and listen to God’s story as well as their own.
God is calling us to fully explore, to fully enjoy, and to fully capture the power of the Great Story, the gospel. And we are to invite others to immerse themselves in the Great Story. One way we do this is by listening to our lesser stories and then telling them to others.
Your story, like mine, will never end, not even in heaven. But your story does more than merely loop in on itself in an endless cycle of regress and return. It moves with a syncopated anarchy, a pulse and rhythm that are free of any predictable pattern, free of the typical restraints. Your story may seldom make sense to a linear mind, but still it shimmers with the distinct emblem of a Creator. Story is where we find ourselves and, every so often, God. It is where God hints at himself and invites us to see what can’t be clearly seen—that he exists and intends to reward those who earnestly seek him.
Story is also where we find one another, and in the finding of another, we are confronted with the strangeness of the face that summons us to enter his or her story. If I succumb and ask, “Who are you? How did you come to be here? Where are you going? And why would you choose to go?” then I have thrown myself into the moving circle of story. I have agreed to know others and to be known by others; to know that I don’t know myself and others; and to say yes to the terror of being known. I am lost and may one day be found.
How shall we end?
Dan Allender, “To Be Told”