“Life has many chapters of stories. One bad chapter doesn’t mean it’s the end of the book.” -- Anonymous
This statement made me think of Jesus, who regularly encountered people living through a bad chapter in their lives. Perhaps you remember hearing stories of Jesus meeting people like Zaccheus the tax collector, the Samaritan woman at the well, and the rich young ruler. Jesus opened a way for each person to change and create a different story … a story better for their lives.
Has there ever been a time when someone came alongside you and inspired you to make a change in life? Right off, I can think of two times. First, there was a time when I was not in good physical shape. I wanted to change my bad habits and unhealthy choices, but I couldn’t motivate myself. My friend Nancy, a strong athlete, came to my rescue. She took me running and swimming with her and guided me to improve my eating habits. She showed me I could live differently. I might have turned into a couch potato without her! Second, my friend Trish entered my life at a time when I needed to make a difficult decision about whether to continue in a relationship with a man who was toxic for me. I was afraid to let him go, but she encouraged me to fight back my fear and end the relationship. In a way, these two friends “saved” my life, helping me not only to live a better story with my life, but to be a better character in that story.
In the Bible, salvation has to do with encountering God’s goodness and mercy in a way that changes you … transforms your heart and changes your direction. You see who you are more clearly and who God has made you to be all along. You realize you have a place in God’s story. You matter.
As a Christian, making a better life story involves being willing to abandon one’s old ways of living life and choosing another way that is centered in Jesus and his kingdom values. Claude Nikondeha, an East African Christian, speaker, and activist for the poor, said, “The story God calls us to is much bigger than our personal stories, our careers, or our pay cheques. It is not about my salvation only, but about my family, my community, my church, my city” … the whole world God loves.
Are you creating space in your life for God to launch a bigger and better story for you?
Reflect on these words of Jesus:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message translation of the Bible)
Sumarme Goble, Foxes & Fowl team member