Winning Ways - from Hillcrest Baptist Church, Austin, Texas  Contact Tom Goodman, Pastor
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Fit Your Story into the Bigger Story
by Tom Goodman
August 5, 2009

You faith gets tested when the doctor's report isn't what you had hoped, or when you're laid flat by unexpected cruelty, or a tragedy turns your world upside down.  The only way to make sense of life's pain is to fit your story into the Bigger Story that we find in the Bible.

You could outline the Bigger Story in three words: Creation, Cross, and Crown.

Creation.  After God created our world, he didn't say "oops" (Genesis 1).  But when sin entered the picture, it fundamentally altered God's good world.  Now "the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth" under its "bondage to decay" (Romans 8).  So, we're going to experience the broken heart of life in a broken world.  In fact, the more we see life from this perspective the more we'll see any moments of joy as mercies and not rights (Psalm 145:9).  And God has been so merciful!

Cross.  Of all the world's religions, only one describes God as experiencing the ruin of the world as a man.  In The Cross of Christ John Stott wrote, "I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross.  In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?"  That means that whenever I pray about my problems, I'm praying to One who can say, "I know what you're talking about."  But on the cross he was doing more than just identifying with the ruin of the world:  He was carrying away the sin that ruined the world.  That's why to me the most beautiful line in The Passion of the Christ was Jesus to Mary as he stumbled under the weight of the cross he carried:  "See, Mother, I make all things new."

Crown.  By carrying away the sin of the ruined the world, Jesus ensured a rescue that will be completed at his glorious return.  As the Bible says (Hebrews 2), "at present we do not see everything subject to him" -- but that's only "at present."  Just as D-Day was the decisive act of World War 2 that assured the eventual victory in Europe, Christ's death and resurrection was the beginning of the end.  We wait in hope for that end, assured that "our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" at Christ's return (Romans 8).

All our little stories only make sense in this Bigger Story.  "Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18).


Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored."  Some things to look for...

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