Why did God give the majority of His Word in the form of narrative? I suspect part of the answer lies in the incarnational nature of narrative. It is theology fleshed out in concrete. Real lives, real situations, real challenges, real responses. Narrative engages us, and that is exactly the way God would have it. Why? Because He seeks to engage us.
So as I am studying a couple of narratives for forthcoming messages, I am struck by how my life this week has been a sequence of micro-narratives, within the larger narrative of my year, within the macro-narrative of many lives intersecting, within the supra-narrative of God’s history. Just like we see in the Bible, the world is a stage where lives live in response to each other and to God. Some trust Him, others trust self. Some live out love for God, others live out love for self.
I suppose most, if not all, of the story lived out this week will be consigned to unrequested history books in the annals of heaven’s library. Most of each Bible character’s life was not the action snippet that we see in children’s bible story books. I was talking with my children this week about how the Bible characters were full people, not just caricatures. There was much more to Noah than a beard and a saw. Full lives, full characters, full stories. Most not getting into the book, but all of it mattering profoundly.
Which makes me stop and think as I head into another Sunday: what kind of character am I in God’s great story? The Bible proves it isn’t about brains, or beauty, or brawn. The Bible points to heart response to God’s Word, which then spills out in every aspect of life.
In the visual silence of an unseen God, how does my life live out its response to His Word?
People speak of the great tapestry of history. My life is just a thread in that whole work of art. This week is probably only a micro-fibre. But it counts. It is coloured. And in all the complexity of biblical narrative we see every shade of colour, and yet everything seems to boil down to love or hate, trust or self-reliance, faith or fear.
Let’s be sure God’s Word is marking our lives as we seek to help others be marked by it in the coming weekend.