Is it coincidence? It does capture my attention that so many books I’ve read lately are about the Story. The Bible as Story. The genre of Story. Each individual life as part of a grand epic drama. I marvel at the light the Lord leads me with at such times. Coincidence is exactly how he captures my attention and my imagination.
TELL THE STORY
I hear in a dream, “Tell the story!” Whose story, Lord? My story? Your story?
They are all his story, part of a grand story that stretches from Genesis to Revelation. While God’s story is from infinity past to eternal future, he sets his creation, all of us, in time. There was a beginning, and there will be an end. Amen, we sigh.
There is a God, and it’s not me. Amen again, we sigh.
My son, quiet and understated but confident in his faith, enjoyed wearing “GodSpeaks” white-on-black t-shirts in high school. Did you ever see those billboards? The anonymous GodSpeaks campaign started in Florida in 1998 and was expanded to 200 cities in 1999. A few stand out in my memory.
What part of “Thou shalt not” didn’t you understand?–God
Big bang theory, you’ve got to be kidding!–God
When that season of his life moved on, I kept a couple of his shirts, just right for spare pyjamas. The black and white were worn and gone, but my favorite was blue with a picture of the earth and a sliver of sunlight behind.
It’s NOT about ME
The shirt declares, with a Scripture verse that I never remember, a message that I need to remember once in a while. Well, daily, to be honest.
I taught my son the Story and he passes the Story back to me. Family should do that, I think. I’ve written more than a few family stories this year. I expected to write about my brother when his birthday came along last month. My sister’s came a week later. I was focused on other members of my family and just didn’t write much at all. The Story continues to unfold one day at a time, though.
My husband is from Egypt. One brother and two sisters all live close by so we have begun having them over for dinner on Saturdays. Food is devoured, dishes are cleared away, bodies are scattered across recliners and couch, and after a nap, the stories begin. Fibi, the younger sister and newest to the US, is better in English than I am in Arabic, and the dominant language depends on the nature of the conversation and who is in the mood to translate critical pieces for me or Fibi. Last weekend, I could tell they were rehearsing memories of their father, Pastor Zaki Khalil, and the church he built in Egypt in 1939. I stayed busy in another room to leave them free to reminisce. This was important and the Story was not about me.
Mary, the oldest, remembers the most. Paul, the younger brother, spent a lot of time with his father so he has parts of the story that others didn’t share. My husband Victor, the oldest son, left the country at the age of 19 and went to Bible college in Lebanon before moving to England and then the US. At 67, he now has a legacy of his own but the foundation laid by his father is an essential part of his story also.
The consensus at the end of the evening was, “This Story must not be lost!” Who will write the Story? Victor motioned to me, the one who loves to read and to write.
APPOINTED TO WRITE THE STORY
I was brought back into the conversation as Mary and Fibi recalled Fibi’s first trip to the US for a women’s meeting. Mary was her translator, and the Lord blessed in beautiful ways. Fibi recalled that I used the hours waiting for our flight home to write down some of Mary’s stories of her father. Yes, I remember. Yes, I still have those notes!
There are other stories I know have been appointed for me to write. I have known for most of our marriage as I heard about this amazing man of God that the day would come when the Lord would arrange for this story to be written. Victor and I celebrated our 29th anniversary a week ago and the meeting of Pastor Zaki’s children a few days later has marked this out as a signpost. Mary and I need to spend some serious time together!
Family is where stories unfold and where stories have to be told.