Have you noticed that there is really only one transcendent story line? You can go as far back as ET or as recent as Star Trek’s “Into the Darkness” and you find one story line that repeats over and over This is true for romance novels, plays, songs, movies, etc. It comes from the Bible and there isn’t a better one than this: Creation, Fall (crisis), Redemption and Restoration.
There are many versions of the transcendent story line but you can’t find a better one. Let’s start with the original. Creation is “good”; a paradise where God and man are in harmony. Things were as they should be. But then evil and temptation appear and the good is spoiled. This is creation gone wrong. Danger, crisis and corruption take over and it appears all is lost. The plague of sin affects the human race and hope is ruined.
When things are desperate and at their worst salvation comes in the most surprising way–God impregnates a virgin and the Savior is born as a baby. Redemption is available, even to the sinner, and what’s lost is regained. Wrongs are made right. Good overcomes evil. People come together and bring out the best in each other. Sinners become saints and in the process restoration is reality.
The original good is not only restored but the characters are better for the challenges they endured. They love deeper, they are wiser, a legacy is born and a new day dawns. This is restoration at its best–heaven is real.
Have you noticed how many movies or books have a scene where the protagonist dies or appears to die only to be saved at the last moment or resurrected? That person then goes on to save the planet and restore civilization. Evil is discovered, rooted out and good is victorious.
Now, this is where it gets interesting–this is also the story of every man/woman. It is your story and it is mine. Or perhaps your story is still in process. I know mine is. If you are a follower of Jesus you have a redemption story in the making. You have a Savior. His name is Jesus. He makes the wrongs right and He’s conquered the devil. He promises ultimate restoration that is still to be realized. This becomes a story you can share with others. And guess what? They have a story too.
What is really interesting is to explore with them where they are in the story right now. Are they in crisis? Are they in redemption? And here is the key point–on what or whom are they depending for salvation. If redemption is to come from where or from whom will it appear? For example, are they depending on Dave Ramsey to get them out of financial trouble or Dr. Phil to help with relational brokenness? Are they depending on their self? Or are they depending on their spouse? It is helpful to help people clarify on whom they are depending.
Once we understand the transcendent story and we learn to tell our story in this kind of language it opens up all kinds of opportunities to mine the gold in other’s stories. It makes it an easy step to go from a favorite movie story line to the story line in your life to the story line of their life and an opportunity to share the gospel.
Know the story. Tell your story. Share His story. Engage the story in others and give God a chance to work.