“It’s the story the Maker has always told, and the story my child, is true.” -Andrew Peterson.
My family just finished reading Andrew Peterson’s excellent fantasy series The Wingfeather Saga and I have that familiar ache anytime I come to the end of a harrowing journey with beloved characters. As we read the last lines of the last novel my eyes filled with tears and I just wanted to sit out on a porch somewhere and stare out at the setting sun, reflecting on the hopeful picture of a world made right again. This epic story is filled with drama, adventure, humor, heartache and ultimately a quest to defeat an evil that threatens to kill, steal, and destroy the good people of the land. I wept at the courage of the protagonist who set his mind to the task and defeated the enemy at great cost. Sound familiar?
I remember watching Jill Briscoe, an English missionary and writer, stand on a stage during a conference several years ago and feeling that same welling in my heart as she spoke with such confidence about her journey with the Lord. I’ll never forget the chills I got when she raised her Bible and said with authority, “It’s all true.” Something in me broke and flooded my heart with hope. I looked at this woman in her 80’s who has lived a faithful life of devotion to Jesus and was overcome by her courage.
Why do we need these stories and voices to remind us of Truth? Because we so easily forget and become discouraged. We become overwhelmed by the reality of the world in front of our eyes that tells a story of brokenness, hopelessness, and death. We lose sight of the joy set before us and are crippled by fear and anxiety.
How many times have I uttered, “I just can’t do this Lord,” while trying to follow His call over my life? I have to confess – my capacity for hard things is quite low. I am poor, pitiful, blind, and naked on my best day. Paul states it best in Romans when he declares, “Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” When the Scriptures depict the Israelites becoming discouraged or fearful and turning away from the Lord any time they are faced with calamity, discomfort, or uncertainty, I can just picture myself there helping design the golden calf. I read the Bible and declare it to be true, then find myself walking out the door with unbelief stubbornly wedged in my mind like a bur on a dog’s hind leg.
Paul goes on in Romans to exhort believers that Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death and that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Here’s the kicker:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”Romans 8:5
This is my battle. This is where I need courage. My mind gets set on things of the flesh and I forget that God has already won the battle. I forget that we are caught up in His story and that He is not oblivious to our plight.
So I wonder, is it silly that I garner courage from a children’s story or a gray-haired woman on a stage? Absolutely not. These are the ways God intimately speaks to my heart and whispers his truth into my weary heart. These gifts of story and testimony ultimately point me back to the beauty of His Word. Praise be to God for the truth of the Gospel found in the Bible and the courage that comes from believing the stories are true. “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!” Psalm 31:24. How are you encouraged? What breathes life and hope into your weary heart? Go to those wells of life and go often. Only there in the presence of truth can we have the courage to continue on in joy and hope.
– Katie Foshea, ACS Kindergarten Teacher