Everyone loves a God-story. One of my favourites is the mansion story*. You may have heard me share it on a recent ministry tour or on a teaching CD. Complete with prophetic dream, God-confirmation and a finale that turns out much better than imagined. It’s so much fun to tell… The hope of provision. The anticipation of what will come next. The frightful steps of faith. The wonder of fulfilment as red ferraris and swimming pools and tennis courts miraculously appear.
Our hearts thrill to hear what God did. His supernatural hand intervening in our humdrum circumstances. His faithfulness to do what he said. The freaky unfolding of a future scene entering the present. We love those stories because they give us hope for our own.
But there are other stories too. Us preachers don’t tell those ones so much. They are the stories that still long for resolution and whose plot-line hangs agonisingly in the air. Whose narratives are tangled in conflict and whose confusing twists test the deepest roots of our faith. They are the stories we don’t tell yet because we are still waiting for the ending.
While some stories end neatly and package seamlessly to be retold in books and sermons, the others stay closed and hidden at the bedside. Their plot doesn’t fit so easily into our fairytale desires or hollywood finales.
We turn pages in hope. We look for threads of meaning. We long for resolution. And while we wait, we get to know the author – that grand storyteller who promises that there will always be a fabulous ending. One day there will be another story to tell.
“Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too be patient and stand firm… You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about…” (James 5:7,8,11)
*The ‘Mansion story’ is told on the CD: ‘Awaken Your Dreams’ available here.