The Power of Story

The Power of Story

On Monday evening, May 9th I spoke at a church south of Washington Square in New York City. The general theme was centered around why people find stories so compelling. One place to start is with John Eldridge’s wonderful book Epic: The Story God is Telling.

In the Prologue, Eldridge quotes Frodo, one of the central characters in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

“I wonder what sort of tale we’ve fallen into?”

Have you ever wondered what kind of story you are living through? I have and I have often wondered how the plot will work out in the end. Of course, the story is not fully told, but every day confronts us with decisions, forks in the road, that will determine very different outcomes. 

We often talk of life as a journey and it is, but for me the journey at some point in the past translated into a pilgrimage. Whereas I thought of my life much as a tourist would, seeing things but not experiencing them. I was passing through more than living in and that worked well for me until one day when I realized I had fallen into a story without a happy ending. I no longer could escape into some kind of make believe bus that would transport me to safer ground. I had entered a very dark place with no exit, and it was then that I realized I could not escape on my own. I turned from trying to save myself to accepting the reality of God’s grace. Suddenly, I entered a very different story and I am still traveling on that very different road. To quote from a song I like:

I set out on a narrow way, many years ago

Hoping I would find true love along the broken road.

I got lost a time or two, wiped my brow, kept pushing through

I couldn’t see how every sign pointed straight to you

And every long lost street led me to where you are

Others who broke my heart, they were just northern stars

Pointing me on my way into your loving arms.

This much I know is true;

God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.

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