Beginning Middle End - Why We Like Stories

A Story About a Ball and it's Owner

Why do we like stories?  Because we don’t know how they end, and we’re dying to find out (literally).  Why does God like stories?  He knows how they end and He’s excited for what he has planned. 

It has been proved that a story works best when it has a specific structure to it.  Three acts, all with a beginning, middle and an end.  All good stories have conflict to them as well and each conflict (small or large) has a beginning, middle, and an end to it.  Similarly, every moment of your life has a structure to it, beginning, middle and end.  What kind of story are you writing everyday? 

Put another way, everyday and even every moment has an attack (onset of conflict), a reaction (flight or a battle) and a resolution: Attack, reaction, resolution; Attack, reaction, resolution; Attack, reaction, resolution.  If this seems boring and repetitious to you, ask yourself, “Are you tired of fighting the battle?  At times we all are.”

A very good friend has lost her spouse and is getting older.  She is tired of the fight.  The weapons are available, but oftentimes, a sense of alone-ness is difficult to navigate.  Even when she has help and companionship, the fear and worry of the coming alone-ness is an unwelcome guest, which steals away present enjoyment.  This interloper ensures that the venture into higher ground and into joy is never a long or a deep journey.

Pastor David Jeremiah says that the Word of God is an offensive weapon, but only when it is used.  As you think about that, you may lament the times you have left yourself unprotected because you didn’t speak out the words and the promises of Almighty God. 

One of the greatest weapons is the phrase, “The joy of the Lord is my (your) strength” (Neh. 8:10). This verse has lead many downtrodden humans to the mountains, and it can lead you if you keep it close and use it as a weapon to ward off the thoughts and feelings that tear away at your peace and erode trust in the source of peace.

As Christians, we all have a claim to a victorious life.  But, we must claim the battle to claim the victory.  How is it possible that so many of us that see the glass half empty?  After seeing a life of miracles (births, healings, the sunrise and the food that grows out of the ground), we still refuse to believe in the swift and sure divine help that leads us out of our troubles or at least strengthens us to survive them.

Why do we like stories?  It’s because we don’t know how they end.  The expectation and the surprise remind us that we are in similarly tight situations, fighting our own dragons and even experiencing similar betrayals from others.  Stories give us practice in the art of patience and courage as we vicariously cheer for the hero, who is us.  We connect with stories that remind us of ours.  Mothers and fathers especially connect with films like “Prisoners,” with Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman, because they can relate to that kind of a battle.  The logline reads: When a daughter is kidnapped, the family takes matters into their own hands.

A good story encourages (IN COURAGE, US).  Your strength will ebb and flow during your life and there are many things that can encourage you, like the “never-say-die” courage of anyone, who refuses to give in to a tendency to worry or to fear.  We are encouraged by one who will not be slowed by a difficult task or an illness or one who smiles and chooses love and faith, rather than choosing to wilt in fear, depression or loneliness.

This kind of courage is worlds away from choosing to hide our fear from others as if everything is ok.  This is not helpful to either party.  The fearful one harbors dangerous fear, anger and mistrust and pays for this myopia by having to go it alone.  Making decisions based on fear and worry never leads to fair and open-minded decision-making.  

Why does God like stories?  Because He does know how they end and he directs the perfect ending.  The ending is so glorious that it will obliterate all of the trials of this world in the flash of an instant that will make us embarrassed that we ever complained. 

Work toward that end.  Take some others with you.