She sat on the bar stool with anticipation in her eyes as her Grandmother began, “Let me tell you a story….
Without going into all the details, the above mentioned child was my daughter and she was three years old. She had taken her grandmother’s pin cushion, removed all the straight pins and needles and placed them in her grandfather’s bed pillow. All of them. When Granny found them, she wanted to explain why this was not good by relating the story of when her daughter lost a sewing needle in the carpet and she stepped on it. It really was a big deal as she had to go to the doctor to have it removed. She told my daughter how she must be careful with pins and needles as you never know who might get hurt. She finished by asking her if she understood. Without skipping a beat and again with much anticipation in her eyes, she simply said “Tell me another story!” Totally missed the point…. We all had a good laugh. Sooner or later she would understand. In the meantime, we made sure the pins were out of reach.
I’m thinking of poor Ezekiel today. God gave him an important message to give to his people and even while telling him he must go He included the fact that the people wouldn’t listen. They will miss the point. I’m not sure how enthusiastically I would have proceeded with this command. Why bother if no one is going to listen? What’s the point if they don’t care about the information being relayed? How will I make sure they don’t miss the point?? Gotta give Ezekiel an obedience award for this one! His message was a hard one: there are consequences for rebellion against God. But if they would listen and heed his message they would hear the heart of the message: God loves you and will save you.
We are supposed to be telling a story to the world. The story of the magnificent love of God in sending His Son to save us. It’s the most wonderful story in the world yet many will not listen. They don’t care to hear it. Some listen as if it’s an old fable, a nice story but certainly not life-changing. And while knowing the response of many in this world, God still commands us to go and tell everyone we can. It’s easy to get frustrated in this endeavor. It’s hard to deal with the dismissal of the uninterested or the ridicule of the mockers. Part of the story isn’t fun: we are all sinners. But for those who listen and heed, they hear the heart of the message: God loves them and will save them.
The best and most effective way to tell His story is to tell yours. What has He done for you? What has He brought you through? How has He helped you? How has He delivered you? These are the stories that people listen to. Oh, not all will care about your story. Some will dismiss it, some will misinterpret it, some will miss the whole point. But some will hear and lives will be changed because God will use your story to reach the hearts of the lost and hurting. Someone needs your story. They’ve gone through the same kind of experiences that you have and are desperate to find hope. They’re walking around wounded and your story of survival is just what they need.
Our hesitation sometimes lies in our fear that we won’t be able to explain it all, we won’t be able to answer all their questions. And that is true. We won’t be able to explain God to the natural mind in a way that it will satisfy. We won’t be able to answer all the questions about the “whys” of this life. But He didn’t give us that responsibility. He will do what He alone can do when we are willing to go. We have no power to affect a person’s spirit. He does the work. Our part is to tell of Him.
We hesitate again, not wanting to share our mistakes, our rebellion, our sin. Yet one of the greatest experiences on earth of the redemption that is ours is in that moment when sharing our mistakes helps another person out of theirs, and they find the very same forgiveness and freedom we have found. This is one of the many ways that “…all things work together for good to those who love Him…” (Romans 8:28), and well worth the risk our pride takes in telling what we’ve done.
So tell a story. Yours. Someone needs to find God through you.