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Telling the Stories

Written on January 27th, 2016

telling story3


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I love the Old Testament stories about the whining of the Israelites. Time and again they witness the faithfulness of God, time and again God saves his people through miraculous acts, time and again God shows His people that He will ensure that His plans for them will be fulfilled, He saves, He heals and He forgives. And they forget and they fret and they worry and then they complain and they doubt that anyone can save them to the point they cry out for a return to slavery.

I love those stories because at first glance it seems almost unbelievable…no sooner are the people released from Egypt and they cry out to Moses that they have been lead into a dead end at the Red Sea; when God miraculously parts the Red Sea (seems to be a relatively unforgettable miracle) they are soon complaining about lack of food…you get the picture. And then I realize that those stories are not unlike me, unlike my own life. I have a feeling that when I wonder about the forgetfulness of Israel, God is looking with amusement at my life knowing that I am just the same. I wonder if it is the same for you.

I had that kind of reminder recently when a number of events (some within my control, others seemingly outside my control) caused me to doubt and fret and worry and wonder how these things would possibly resolve themselves. I would wake up in those dark hours of the night/early morning seized by anxiety, often spending a restless night tossing about, worrying what would come next, knowing that only God could fix this but wondering if He would. In my human frailty and brokenness I forget God’s faithfulness when life appears to be going downhill quickly, when life takes a turn for the worse. In my leadership role this transfers quickly to the situations I find myself in at work or in my organization. I’m quite ready to say “O woe is me” or “God why have you forsaken us?”  While I might not actually say those things out loud, my worry and fretting demonstrate that it is how I feel.

And then in His patience, in His awesome grace, in His magnificent love, God repairs the brokenness, calms the anxiety and provides a path where none was evident just a moment ago, or brings a solution where none seemed humanly possible.

Many of us are at that time of year when things appear to be bleak or insurmountable. Some of us are in that time of the year when we need to be planning for the next school year but the outlook causes us doubt and anxiety. Answers are not evident; the path forward far from clear.

Let me encourage you today ”to remember”. Remember the times in your life, in the life of your school when God showed Himself to be faithful. Remember the time when the outcome to a situation was obviously the miraculous hand of God…it had to be, there just is no other explanation. A sudden healing, an unexpected influx of new families, an unsolicited donation, a conflict resolved that had no resolution…remember those stories. I encourage you as a leader in your community to be an agent of hope by telling once again the stories of the faithfulness of God because that same God who was faithful in the past will be faithful once again.

Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done; his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Israel,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.  I Chronicles 6:11-13