Links Daily Devotional

Jesus, the Storyteller

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” (Genesis 50:20)

There is a story behind every round of golf. Some stories tell of unlikely putts sunk, powerful drives, and beautifully spinning wedge shots. Some stories include the horror of lost balls, unfriendly sprinkler-head bounces, and plugged lies in bunkers. Some stories include the steady consistency of two-putt pars, perhaps to the dismay of the birdie-thirsty golfer having a genius ball striking day.

But clearly we have favorites, especially the ones that combine some kind of adversity and some kind of redemption. We like hearing of great feats of overcoming obstacles like roots and mud and tree limbs and double bogeys. We like hearing of the par save putt after the calamity of a slice off the tee! There is something intrinsic to such stories that excite our hearts.

A great story needs some kind of starting point, a breaking of the status quo, a quest for peace, preferably with all sorts of adventure, and finally redemption to a better end, where peace and happiness are ever after! Does this sound familiar? All great stories point to the true and better story of Christ. The Bible’s entire narrative starts with creation, then the breaking of relationship with God through the fall, followed by redemption with ensuing heaven and restoration! The account of Joseph in Genesis mirrors that progression as well: family peace is broken by a pretty coat which causes jealousy, which leads to evil against Joseph by his brothers. It goes from bad to worse for Joseph while he is in jail, forgotten. But then, redemption comes: Joseph is appointed over Egypt, ultimately forgives his brothers, and ends up not only saving his own family from famine with the stores of Egypt, but sets the stage for the rest of biblical history. Genesis 50:20 is a kind of synopsis of this story: God turns man’s evil into good. Could God be telling us something about how his good plan interacts with evil through his storytelling? Could God be assuring us of his good end?

Our intuition about stories can help us glimpse what is better: the starting point, or the bliss of happily ever after and the ultimate consummation of love. How can the story of grace be told without sin or the fall? These are but scratches at the puzzling questions about sin and evil. But perhaps God has given us instincts about what great stories are like, the ones that really lift up our soul, as evidence within our hearts that what he has written is good, despite the presence of evil. We all agree that evil is not good, but since he allows it, and he is good, it is at least possible to cognitively understand, how God “causes all things to work together for good”when we consider the whole story (Romans 8:28).

The truth is that we have sliced the ball since the beginning, with no else one to blame; but our Savior has redeemed it, saving par for us! This type of story humbles us. While we are declaring a lost ball, he shows us mercy and grace when Christ makes birdie from that impossible predicament. Through the story he reveals Christ’s supremacy and power above everything that is seen and unseen. You see, when Christ was ascending back to the clubhouse, so to speak, he had the mightiest story to tell!

Isabelle Beisiegel
August 26, 2014
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