Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ever Regretted Telling Your Story?

All of us have a story.   We have a long, drawn out, life-story and we have little stories of things that happen to us on a daily basis.  If you have an unusual life, there are parts of your story that may not be for "general consumption."  Some people just can't handle messy.

If you are a foster or adoptive parent, or the parent of a child with special needs, there are plenty of chapters in our story that are not understood by the general public.  And so you have to be careful who you share them with.

My kids love to get me telling stories.  They each have their favorites and they request them whenever we meet knew people.  These stories have become family legends.  When they were younger, they had no discretion (some of them still don't) and would request when new parishioners were over for the first time that I tell the "knife story."  I had to teach them that most people don't understand a story that starts with, "When John was in 5th grade he pulled a knife on me before breakfast one school day."  It just doesn't compute.

In the book of Job, the same thing happened to Job.  He had three "friends" who he tried to tell his story too.  By their reactions, it was obvious that they did not get it.   His story was so hard, so tragic, that the only thing they could do was reacted cerebrally to his plight.  They concluded that if Job had bad things happening to him, it was because he had done something bad.  They spent a long time trying to convince him of this, but he did not relent.

This morning I was yelling very loudly at 6:30 am to my son on the phone.  I'm not going to share the story as it is one that is very complex and very much unlike what "normal" families deal with that most people would have no idea how to respond.     I choose to tell my story to those who have gone through something similar, because they will respond with empathy, not sympathy, and will react to the emotions not the facts.  

The good news, though, is that there is One with whom I can share every story, even the ones I tell nobody else about.    When we share our story with Jesus, no matter what our challenges, he always gets it.   In The Message, Hebrews 2:18-19 says this:

That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed. 
If you have a story today that you are afraid to share because you don't think anyone will get it, tell it to Jesus.   Apparently in 1846 people felt the same way we do sometimes, because this hymn was written that year:

Are you weary, are you heavy hearted?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you grieving over joys departed?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Do the tears flow down your cheeks unbidden?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Have you sins that to men’s eyes are hidden?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Do you fear the gathering clouds of sorrow?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
Are you anxious what shall be tomorrow?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Are you troubled at the thought of dying?
Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus.
For Christ’s coming kingdom are you sighing?
Tell it to Jesus alone.

Tell it to Jesus, tell it to Jesus,
He is a Friend that’s well known.
You’ve no other such a friend or brother,
Tell it to Jesus alone.

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