Story. It is in essence who we are. We are characters in a greater story, Shakespeare made this thought famous in one of his most well-known speeches, "All the world's a stage..." We know, as Christians, we are part of a greater story and we each have a special part to play. Jesus used story to communicate through metaphor to the world. John Eldredge at the beginning of his book EPIC, reminds us that every day is a story and the hours and even minutes unfold as in scenes.
Why is story so fundamental and so important? It seems as if we were hard-wired for story. God is a God of relationship and story is at the heart of relationship. We understand each other through story. We love to hear about each others lives through stories. These help us feel a) Not alone and b) connected to and actively participating in the world. We read comic books and other fantastical stories to give us a look at the possibilities available in our own lives. Christians know by reading the bible, we will get closer to God and understand God and this world better because we understand God's story which is ultimately our story.
Story has other amazing attributes. In Madeleine L'Engle's book WALKING ON WATER, she tells of a lecturer named Helen Mullen. She says "One day she told us about visiting the pediactric wards of hospitals and telling stories to the children, many of whom were in severe pain. But while the children were listening to stories, they did not feel the pain." HOW???? What is it about story that can heal or refocus the way the body behaves?
When Jesus asks us to believe in him, he is asking us to trust him. Trust is having faith that someone else knows your story better than you. Instead of a "choose your own adventure" you are submitting your life to the mystery. You are laying your control down and saying "I am not sure what the next page will bring but I know it will be far more interesting than what I was going to write." It is courageous and worthwhile because God is the master storyteller and we are his pen. He will write his greatest story with us. Trust the story.
I think that the reason story is like medicine is because it is so connected to the being of God. The first action God made was creation through the act of speaking. He spoke the world into existence. God is the Master Artist and the greatest storyteller. When we connect with God through story, we are one step closer to him. When we allow God to write our stories with us, we are allowing him to work fully and thus we will receive his benefits; forgiveness, healing, redemption, goodness, satisfaction and renewal as it says in Psalm 103. Let us be storytellers by getting out of the way. Let us let God write our masterpiece. Creation is hard work but through God all things are possible because we aren't doing it all, he is. Let's let go and let God and see what mysterious creation will happen. Who knows, maybe our story will help to heal the world.