I grew up in a Christian home. My mother took my brother and I to church every Sunday and youth group every Friday night. I even attended a private Christian school for a few years. Despite all those hours sitting in the pews, surrounded by people of faith, I felt disconnected. I loved God and knew He loved me, but it wasn’t enough. By the time I left home for college I thought Christianity was not much more than a list of do and don’ts that weren’t relevant in modern culture. So, over the next few years I attended church sporadically and had few, if any, Christian friends.
And then it happened; I met someone at work who was a Christian. All of a sudden I had someone to talk about my faith with. We exchanged stories. We talked about our struggles, what it meant to live out our faith, and the hope we had in our Creator. I began to feel a connection to the God I’d learned about in Sunday school. I started attending church more consistently and my relationship with Christ grew.
I believe what made the difference in my relationship with God was hearing about how someone else experienced Him.
Stories matter because they:
Encourage – Life can be full of challenges, obstacles, and frustration. But it can also be full of hope, faith, and love. When we exchange our stories of triumph over tragedy, hope that trumped disappointment, and perseverance amidst obstacles, we encourage one another to keep our eyes focused on God instead of our circumstances.
Heal – The Bible says that our tongue carries both life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Our words carry power. They have the ability to hurt, discourage, and knock the wind out of us. But when woven together into stories that share of God’s goodness, the have the capacity to carry healing.
Restore – As we talk about what God has done in our lives it draws others closer to Him. A good story, with themes of redemption or forgiveness running through it, transforms the ideas we’ve read about in the Bible into real working principles.
Refresh – Sharing our story turns our answered prayers into praise. As we remember and celebrate what God has already done, our spirit is refreshed and our faith grows. Then, when we face a troubling situation, we have confidence in the One who is on our side.
Show us the fullness of God – When we see the hand of God in the lives of other people it gives us a more complete picture of who He is. We discover things about God we may not have the chance to through our personal experience alone.
The Case for Grace for Kids and The Case for Grace Student Edition: A Journalist Explores the Evidence of Transformed Lives are perfect examples of why story matters. They both share story after story of lives transformed by grace. Through the stories of ordinary people, the author builds a case for grace, what it is, what it really means to be forgiven, and how it sets Christianity apart from religions. These books take a subject matter that even some adults struggle with and make it understandable and tangible for kids and teens.
Stories matter because they change lives.
I know because they changed mine. True to form the stories in these books do the same. They encourage, heal, restore, refresh and demonstrate the fullness of God to their readers.
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How have stories impacted your life? Join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear from you!