July 07, 2014

Trouble in God’s Story

Genesis 3:1-19

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
—John 16:33


Something needs to happen in a story, or it’s not a story. Something needs to take place that hasn’t already happened at the beginning. But getting a story from the beginning to the end isn’t as easy as we might think. The characters in the story need to set out on a new adventure, or they need to deal with new problems or needs that arise and need fixing. We call that the plot of the story.

Ultimately a good story usually involves some kind of trouble: some problem to be fixed or a situation to be resolved. Without some kind of trouble you end up with a boring story.

For example, if the Three Little Pigs had never encountered the Big Bad Wolf, they would have simply lived in their houses of straw, sticks, and bricks. It’s the trouble in the story that draws us to the edge of our seats, wondering, “What’s going to happen next?”

The story of the Bible charges directly into the worst trouble imaginable: by chapter 3 the entire creation has been ruined by the main characters. As a perfect world crashes into its curse, we discover that somebody needs to do something—but what?

We still often feel that way. Every time I face trouble, I want to cry out for somebody to do something.

But this is God’s story. The world is broken, but he will fix it! Praise be to God!

Lord, in this world we face trouble. Draw us close to you as we follow you through our stories. In the name of Jesus, our Savior, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at www.squintforgod.com.

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