News from the Tennessee Valley Religion

Rev. Jason Teal

Realizing the power in stories

Have you ever seen a movie or read a book that moved you, stirred something within you? "It was just a powerful scene," we'll try to explain. Why was it powerful? What is in those moments that seem to transcend the reality in which we live and take us to another place?

The truth is, we are living in a much larger story than our simple day-to-day lives would have us believe. Most of us go through life without a clue that there is more going on than what we see. I am convinced one of the most consistent things God is saying to us is this: There is more. Much more. And if we would seek it out, we would find it to be true, which is why we must look to stories.

Think of it: In almost every great story, there is a hero, a selfless person who has a destiny to which he has committed his life. He fights not for himself, but for the good of humankind. He wars against oppression, rescues the endangered, and goes behind enemy lines to win the day. He rises to the challenge. Victory and freedom follow his sacrifice.

But, as in every great story, there also is a villain — a person or force working without rest against everything for which the hero stands. This villain, time and time again, will attempt to thwart the deeds of the hero, and sets himself against those who would align with him. Many times, the hero must give his life for the sake of those he cares about, and the freedom for which he fights.

William Wallace gave his life for freedom, for his countrymen. Maximus defeated Commodus in the arena to free Rome from dictatorship (the battle cost him his life). Time and again we see heroes step into destiny, willing to give all for the sake of freedom and liberty.

The reason these stories feel so true is that they are. The movies we love, the great epics that inspire and move us, speak of a larger story — the one that God is telling. We are a part of that story. As John Eldredge says, "The story of your life is the story of a long and brutal assault on your heart by one who knows what you could be, and fears you. It is also the story of the hero who has come to set you free and give you life."

"A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of" (John 10:10).

And the story continues . . .

The Rev. Jason Teal is lead pastor at Real Life @ Hickory Hills Church.

Rev. Jason Teal Rev. Jason Teal

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