August 30, 2017

The Worst Parts and the Retelling

"Remember when you went camping and it rained the whole time and you were soaking wet and the car got a flat tire and the raccoons got into your food? (Insert a similar story here.)

When you tell that story years later at a dinner party, you tell it with a smile on your face, with great flourish, until everyone around the table is laughing. It's a great story about the Worst Camping Trip ever.

Were you laughing at the time your tent ripped and filled with water? Were you smiling when you realized you had no dry clothes left? Were you enjoying that walk in the downpour to the convenient store while you were doing it? No, it was miserable! And yet, when you retell the story, you include all those details because in your retelling, they get transformed. In fact, you accentuate the nasty bits.

It wasn't just a sprinkle, it was a massive downpour involving cats and dogs. Your little sister didn't just get a stomachache from the Little Debbie cakes that she got at the gas station that she ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You tell us how she heaved chunks all night long.

What were once the worst parts of the story, in your retelling, become the best bits.

A story has always been told a certain way, from a certain perspective, through a certain lens.  But then you retell it.  You tell it in a different way.

When you retell a story, you don't remove the nasty bits or the unfortunate events, you include them. But in retelling things, they appear in a new light. They are what they are, but when they are retold, they take on new meaning and weight and perspective.

The world is fractured and broken. Parts are lying scattered all over the place. It brings God pleasure to bring it all back together in unity in Christ.

God is retelling everything.

All of everything every human has ever done. What God is up to in the world involves putting everything back together as it should be. He is restoring all things.

Your broken heart? All things.
Poverty?  All things.
Abuse? All things.
Racism?  All things.
Fractured relationships?  All things.
All things.  All things.  All things.

This is what brings God pleasure.  This is what God is doing.

Can your story be retold?

Can all of the various things that have happened to you,
and the things you have done you'd prefer to never think about again,
and the embarrassing parts and the painful parts,

can all of it be retold in such a way that the worst parts become the most powerful, poignant parts?"

 

~ Rob Bell

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