When we think of religion, we think of rules and goals. But when God communicates, it’s not primarily through proposition, or soundbite, or essay, but through the story of goodness and love breaking into ordinary people’s lives. The Bible is almost entirely made up of story.
Recall those magic moments, hearing your favourite childhood story for the first time. How we clung to each word, wondering what would happen next. Eyes wide open, we had our eyes transfixed on the storyteller, longing to know the ending.
This, too, is life. The Bible tells us the ending, and it’s a good one. But in the meantime, we live our lives not quite knowing the nature of the plot development, or whether we’re a major protagonist or a minor character.
This is why I wrote Those Who Wait. My upcoming book is based on four ordinary believers who wrestled with waiting, just as we do – yet met God in the midst of their longings.
Have you ever had that experience of someone tell their story, only to feel, ‘but they’re describing my life?’ The Bible has the power to do this, if only we pause to enter into the story.
That’s what I set out to do: just tell the story. Tell it as though I were Sarah, abandoned in Pharaoh’s harem; Isaiah, railing at the injustice in society; John the Baptist, waiting for his life’s calling to begin; and Mary, carrying Jesus in her body as she went through life. As I was writing Those Who Wait, I scrutinised their lives, only to find that they were scrutinising me.
God, through their stories, reached into the deepest recesses of my heart and undid me.
Sometimes we read stories, only to find that they are reading us. As we find our part in the Big Story, we need the reassurance of those who’ve gone before us: sinners and saints; the rough and the redeemed.
Whenever I am despairing of life, it is the honesty of the Bible that saves me. I am that child again, looking into the eyes of the storyteller, stuck in the middle, but longing for that good ending I’m promised. We know the ending, and the ending is good. In the meantime, I’m clinging to every word of the Storyteller.
So this is my prayer for readers of Those Who Wait: that in our own messy stories we’ll be supported by the mess and glory of Bible stories, and we’ll be transformed through encountering God in His story.
Those Who Wait – Tanya Marlow (Malcolm Down Publishing) is a creative and transformative journey through the lives of four Bible heroes who waited impatiently – and found God.
OUT on Monday 16th October.
SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY OFFER: £6.99 / $8.99 from 16-26th October on Amazon. (RRP £9.99 / $13.99). Put it in your wishlist now, or preorder from Wordery (free international delivery). Keep in touch with updates here.
Over to you:
- Do you tend to think of stories as transformative?
- “It is the honesty of the Bible that saves me.” What do you think about this?
***To celebrate the launch of Those Who Wait, write your own post on the theme of Waiting, and link it up on WEDS 18th OCTOBER***
Photo credit (c) Lynn Friedman Creative Commons Licence
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Tweetables:'It is the honesty of the Bible that saves me' - Tell Me a Story Click To Tweet 'Sometimes we read stories, only to find that they are reading us.' - Tell Me a Story Click To Tweet 'The Bible is almost entirely made up of story.' - Tell Me a Story Click To Tweet 'We know the ending, and the ending is good.' - Tell Me a Story Click To Tweet