The story of God, the story of us. What a simple thought! What a profound concept. The first chapter of this book is entitled ‘Creation’ and it is presented from the viewpoint of an elder of Israel during the Babylonian captivity as he hears and witnesses the heart’s cries of his people as they lament the fact that it seems that God has forgotten His people and left them to the whims of their captors. Sensing a moment that might give him the tender spot in the hearts and minds of the people, the elder begins sharing the story of the people from the context of their place in the story of God.
I was in one of my favorite hang outs having some coffee with some scrambled eggs and a waffle doing some Bible reading and journaling when I began to hear the not so covert conversations of some men seated at a table just a couple down from mine. They made no effort to hide what they were talking about and as they discussed the condition of the government, the economy, how it seemed that everyone was angry and had little or no respect for themselves, or anyone else for that matter, I couldn’t help but be reminded of that conversation as I read the opening chapter of this particular book. We are living in a time when it seems that culture has forgotten its place in the story of God. Everyone seems to be asking the question ‘what’s the point? What’s the meaning of it all? And how do we fix it?” We cry out for justice, we cry out for relief, we cry out for answers to our questions.
Like the Israelites of long ago, we have forgotten that we are God’s people created by Him in His image. We are part of a story that does not begin with our birth, nor does it begin with the problems of a modern age. Like the Israelites we realize that we are far from where we were intended to be but just can’t seem to figure out why.
The story is a simple one. It is a story of a good and lovingly kind Heavenly Father taking great pains to create a home for what would become the focal point of His affection and fellowship. As God creates the universe He gives it the purpose to contain a small blue-green planet called Earth which will contain small and seemingly insignificant things called humans. God then pours into human beings all the dignity and significance that a relationship with Him provides. This dignity and significance is described by a word: ‘shalom’, a word that means complete, safe, healthy, content, peaceful in human relationships and at peace with God, especially in covenant relationship. But we have forgotten the story.
Because we have forgotten the story, and like so many others who have endured heart ache, confusion, disappointment and frustration we all agree with the musician who cried out: “but I want to know what He is doing now!” Oh! How often have we all made that very same cry? How often have we looked at ourselves in life’s mirror and said to our self “it just isn’t fair.”
As one who has sojourned through a few spiritual deserts, gotten bogged down in the swamps of emotional selfishness, and lost in forests of unmet goals and unrealistic expectations on myself and others I can identify with the Israelites in their moments of anguish and anger, and just like them, God has to remind me of my place in His story and of the simple and unrelenting Truth that His story is my history (and my future).