Today I was reflecting on how our personal stories fit in God’s bigger story a.k.a the Biblical meta-narrative. I came across this quote from H. Stephen Shoemaker, the author of Godstories:
Our lives must find their place in some greater story or they will find their place in some lesser story.
This led me to two questions:
- Do most followers of Jesus really know God’s bigger story from scripture?
- Do we see how our individual stories belong in the context of His story?
Here’s a brief overview of the four parts to the Biblical meta-narrative:
Part 1: Creation. Genesis 1 tells how God created the universe with passion and purpose, He looked at everything He had created and said, “it is good.” After God created man and woman, He look at his creation and said, “it is very good.” Everything God created, especially humankind, was designed for the purpose of reflecting His glory. God lovingly placed the man and woman in place called Eden (literally meaning pleasure) where He met their every need and they lived in perfect harmony with God, each other, and the rest of creation with no disfunction.
Part 2: Rebellion or “The Fall.” The big question in this 2nd Act was whether the man and woman would embrace their God-given purpose. Would they choose to live in perfect harmony with their creator, each other, and the rest of creation? We know the answer is “no.” The 3rd chapter of Genesis tells how they give into the temptation of the serpent to be like God in knowing good and evil. God gave them one command- “don’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for if you do then you will surely die”- which they willingly disobeyed. God kept his promise by removing them from Eden.
Part 3: Redemption. As soon as Adam & Eve disobeyed or sinned God provided clues that He intended to redeem and restore of humanity. He had not given up on His creation- He had a plan. Throughout the Old Testament we can see how God set aside a people group, the Israelites, through which He planned to send the Messiah. We also see how humanity’s efforts to manage right and wrong continuously fall short. This Messiah, the anointed and promised one, would set everything right by redeeming us and bringing us back into a right relationship with God and each other. The New Testament describes how God sent His own son Jesus as the Messiah to redeem humanity through His crucifixion and resurrection. He invites us to follow Him and share His message of redemption to the world.
Part 4: Restoration. Jesus promises to return a second time and scripture ends in Revelation 21 and 22 with God creating a new heaven and a new earth. God restores everything to even better than Eden. All of those who have embraced Jesus’ redemption live in perfect harmony with God, each other, and the rest of creation, free from the sin, sickness, and trials of this present world. We will experience perfect intimacy with God as we worship Him unhindered for eternity.
Which of the following most describes how you view your story?
Your story is completely removed from His.
Your story is stuck at rebellion- just cannot move past it.
Your story is one of redemption and restoration that you now share with others.
May we all be able join Jesus in His great story of redemption and restoration!
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.