The Greatest Story Ever Told
From the beginning of time, stories have been at the center of our culture and humanity. It is through stories that we remember many pivotal truths that shape our understanding of history and our reality today. Research shows that the use of story is one of the most powerful ways to communicate important information that you want someone to remember. From Homer to Shakespeare to J.R.R. Tolkien, these master storytellers have beautifully strung their words together to transport their readers to a different space and time, giving them the opportunity to experience life-changing events through the powerful medium of story. Stories can unlock lessons, experiences, adventures, and important truths simply by being shared. Stories engage our minds, emotions, and imaginations all at once
As a homeschool family, story time has been one of the favorite parts of our day. From board books when the children were young, to picture books and now to novels and biographies, the kids have looked forward to the opportunity to be transported to another realm and to experience the adventures of another from the comfort of their own home. Without stepping outside of our front door, they can walk the streets of another country and feel the deep emotions of another person. Through story, they are afforded the opportunity to experience reality through the eyes of a stranger.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take my youngest daughter and one of her friends to the jump park here in town. They had such a great time bouncing and flying through the air. I watched on with gratitude as I relished the opportunity to sit and catch up on some much-needed correspondence while they exhausted their energy with such excitement. On the way home, my daughter’s friend asked me if I would tell them two stories: a true story and a make-believe story. I am sad to say that my heart started racing and I felt nervous as I began to run through a catalog of stories that I could tell these precious girls in the back seat. Stories have been a favorite part of our day. Why was it that when it came to telling stories from my own life, it left me feeling somewhat vulnerable? I whispered a prayer and felt led to share a story about my time living overseas.
I began to tell them about the time that I spent living in the war-torn country of East Timor. Their little eyes were wide in wonder as I recounted the stories of provision and protection of the Lord. Their hearts bubbled with questions about the things that I had experienced and the ways that I watched the Lord prepare a way for me to share God’s love with these people who were experiencing such pain. What initially felt intimidating, became a sweet opportunity for me to share the tangible love of Jesus with these little girls.
Over the following days, the Lord used that situation in a very powerful way in my life. The Lord has begun to impress upon my heart a very important lesson: the importance of sharing the stories of God’s faithfulness in my life with my children. My husband and I have been very intentional as we seek to raise our 5 children. We prioritize time in the Word of God together as a family. Deuteronomy 4:9 has been a passage that we continue to cling to.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children— “
Here Moses is challenging God’s chosen people to remember what they had seen as they are about to enter the promised land. They watched as God parted the Red Sea before their eyes. They experienced the presence of the Lord displayed in the physical fire and cloud that guided their every step. The Lord fought their battles for them. God miraculously allowed their clothes and shoes not to wear out over the years of wandering. They were given their food from heaven in the exact portions that they needed. In verse 10, we see the reason why it is so important that they remember and pass along these stories to their children: they would learn to fear the Lord all the days of their lives and teach their children to do the same.
It is incredibly important that we listen to God’s charge through Moses here. Not only do we need to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness, but we also have the opportunity to impart this wisdom to our children. We should be faithful to recount the numerous stories included in God’s Word of His faithfulness to His people. There is good reason why God included these powerful stories in His Word to us. But there is a new fire that was lit in my heart that evening as we drove home. Perhaps the stories written on the pages of my life need to be read to my children more often. Perhaps they are far more important than I had once thought. I believe God is calling me to recount His faithfulness in my life to my children in more of the moments around our home. The stories of God’s redemption and power displayed in my life are some of the greatest gifts that I can give to my children. Psalm 78:1-4 tells us:
“Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.”
Whether I am sharing stories of my successes or failures, I am testifying to my children of God’s faithfulness. By God’s grace, He may choose to use those stories to help them make better decisions in their own lives. Our children are hungry to know the stories that make up who we are today. Our stories can help them to better understand their own challenges and struggles and will likely encourage them to open up to us about their own stories. But most importantly, our stories will show them a God who has always been faithful and will continue to be faithful as they walk through their lives.
I challenge you today to begin asking God to provide you with opportunities to share your story with your children. Ask the Lord to lay stories on your heart that your children need to hear. Invite your children to ask you to tell them stories from your life. You may find that your story is the story that the Holy Spirit would use to open their hearts to the greatest story ever told, the story of Jesus Christ. The one who gave his life so that they can live in freedom from sin. The one who gives hope for a better life.