Stories, when told well, are captivating. Perhaps the best stories are the ones that are true. Fiction is fun but fact is compelling. I think that’s why I love archaeology. The thought of digging in the earth in search of another piece of the grand story excites me. Just this week a text was found near the valley of Elah where David killed Goliath. Written on pottery, approximately 3000 years old, a list of slaves, judges, and kings, corresponding with and supporting the truth of God’s Word. What’s even more amazing: this inscription is 1000 years older than the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. Incidentally archaeology consistently proves the accuracy of God’s story, the Bible. What a find…what a story.
You don’t have to dig deep to find a good story. In fact, you don’t have to dig in the earth at all. You simply must look within. Angie and I find true stories from our lives are wonderfully interesting to our kids. “What was it like when you were in fourth grade Dad.” “Was mom as pretty as she is now when you met her in 10th grade?” “Did Papa ever spank your bottom Daddy?” And the search for stories goes on and on.
The natural desire to hear our stories presents us as parents with the magnificent chance to tell our kids the truth about ourselves and about God’s loving pursuit of us. In fact your story might be an important catalyst in the salvation process of your child. Tell them your story…and His.
Do you know His?
Once upon a time (not that long ago) in a perfect place called Eden, God walked with Man and Woman, His masterpieces, in a garden just as I walk with my wife along the beach. It was a great relationship filled with mutual love. One day the man and the woman were offered a different object of their affection. Instead of choosing to love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength, they chose something else. Something forbidden that would damage their relationship with God. The evil one cackled to himself as the man and woman took the forbidden fruit, the new object of their affection. Instantly everything changed. Instead of longing to walk with God they hid from Him. God knew everything and suddenly the world became like we know it. Full of sin, disease, sickness, and imperfection. Death entered the world and life was redefined.
God was not surprised but His heart was broken. His own creation chose to worship sin and self instead of Him. He made a way to be with people even though they were no longer pure. He dwelled with them for a while in a tent. He required animals to die for the sins of the people. Priests had to sacrifice these animals in just the right way or God would not accept the sacrifice and forgive the people. Soon God moved into the House built for Him by a very wise king. The people were comforted by God’s presence in the temple, but they could not get too close or they would simply die. Every year each family would sacrifice animals to receive God’s forgiveness. Every year the High Priest sacrificed a spotless lamb without blemish for the sins of the people. Blood ran from God’s House into the valley so that the people could be right with God. Yet, they had no access. They could not look at His face.
The Father became weary of the distance between He and His creation caused by sin. As foreseen by the prophets hundreds of years before, God sent a part of Himself, His own Son, to the world. He was born in Bethlehem to a virgin mother and a common stone mason. He was given the name Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. He grew in wisdom, and stature, and in favor with the people. He never sinned. He never chose to love anything more than God the Father. He became a great Rabbi. So great that He amazed everyone with His interpretation of God’s Word and with miracles…but more so by His love.
One day, near his 33rd birthday, Jesus and His followers went to Jerusalem, to God’s House, to participate in the celebration and the sacrifices. Animals were being killed every day at 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. As the blood literally dripped out of the city, the smell of burning flesh and stagnant blood reminded the people of their own sin and their need for forgiveness.
A group of people hated Jesus because He threatened their way of life. They arrested Him and accused Him of blasphemy or defaming the Name of God. They accused Him of being a terrorist. They beat Him and put Him on trial. He was not found guilty. There was no evidence against Him. In a violent act of rage, they killed Him anyway. At 9:00 a.m they nailed Him to a cross. At 3:00 p.m the same day Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” meaning the debt has been paid in full. Then He died. There was a violent earthquake and the door way to God’s room at the House was ripped down. The very presence of God disappeared. They put Jesus in a borrowed tomb. Satan and the people who hated Jesus smirked, convinced of their victory.
Three days later, as foretold by the prophets, Jesus rose again from the dead in the ultimate act of victory. Jesus crushed the tragedy of sin. If a man or a woman so chooses, Jesus has all authority to pardon their sin. Once again man and woman can look into the face of God. God no longer lives in a tent or a house. He now lives in perfect community with His masterpiece. He lives inside the hearts of those who turn from their sin and turn toward Jesus, the perfect lamb. The last lamb. The only sacrificial lamb perfectly forgiving men and women of their sin forever. He is Immanuel. God with us! (Genesis-Revelation)
A couple thousand years later, I heard the story. I realized that I had sin in my life and that I deserved to die and be separated from God. But Jesus, my rescuer and redeemer, paid the price for my sin and came into my life. He changed me. I did not become perfect, I became clean and free, forgiven in the eyes of God. I could see the face of God again. I was given the privilege and access of a son. I can walk with Him in conversation just like I walk along the beach with my wife. You see in my life the story that begins in Eden culminates in my changed life. My little girls love that story. They think its the best one. Tell your story… and His.