Growing up in church, I remember loving the Sundays where instead of the usual sermon, members from the church would share their testimonies with the congregation.
I love to hear people’s stories—it’s what makes me love writing and storytelling too—but of course it also goes much deeper than that.
Hearing how God could take people out of the most dire situations and radically change the person caught in the midst of it all, into a follower of Christ. This amazed me—and still does. Story after story of people overcoming the most tragic of events, and how the Lord made it work for His good was extremely inspiring and encouraged me throughout my own trials.
But, as a kid I reflected on my own life’s story and how I came to know Christ. And in all honesty, it seemed rather boring in comparison.
A good story
I’ve loved reading and writing for as long as I could remember.
After studying the craft of storytelling more in-depth over the years, a very central rule is that you can’t have a story without conflict.
Conflict is what drives characters to change, to act, to set off on an adventure. It’s what makes the reader turn pages and keeps the audience at the edge of their seats. Yet, it’s also what we tend to run away from in real life.
To many of us, conflict is scary, and negative. Whether it’s coming from a person, a situation, or within, it is something that is often avoided at all costs. Happiness and success is central to our societies’ goals, and any hindrance of that must be discarded.
And yet, as I sat in church hearing the life stories and tales of redemption within my church family’s lives, what made many of their stories captivating was the conflicts they overcame, or how the Lord used them for good.
Is life too good?
I’ve met so many people who were either raised in terrible, unthinkable circumstances from a young age, who by the grace of God are now living their lives with Christ.
Or, those who were completely against knowing the Lord and were filled with anger against Him and radically came to know Him, and as a result were so beautifully born again, in a way that shocked those around them.
Then, as we tend to do, I look at myself.
I was raised with loving parents who introduced the Lord into my life at a young age, and I happily accepted Him. I had freedom to ask tough questions about my faith as I aged; I had access to church, Bibles, and wonderful mentors that all aided me in my walk with the Lord.
While I did have struggles and hard times, mine seem trivial when I think of what others have gone through.
As crazy at it may sound, the storyteller in me felt almost guilty at the lack of conflict in my life. How was my testimony going to encourage or inspire others without the “drama” it so desperately lacked?
The creator of story
So, despite not having a powerful testimony in my own eyes, I am reminded as I age that the creator of story is the author of my own.
While I didn’t have a dramatic encounter with the Lord in which I became a new person overnight, I instead had a slow and steady growth that I’m grateful for. Having the Lord guiding my feet from such a young age truly shielded me from so many potential heartaches, poor decisions and more.
And, despite having a generally happy childhood, I, like everyone else, have struggles that I fight alongside the Lord to this day, and trials that have come, and will come.
I am blessed to have my story to share, and like anything, I know the Lord will use it for His good, even if I saw it as “boring” as a young teen in church.
The Lord is an amazing storyteller. And that’s not to say that He uses our struggles simply to enrich a story, but to remind us that He holds the whole book in His hands, cover to cover. And that He reigns victorious at the end of each chapter, when it seems like despair is all too much.
Miranda Menelaws is a Canadian freelance writer. During her spare time, she can be found travelling the globe in search of a new story to tell, or writing about her adventures on her blog.
Miranda Menelaws’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/miranda-menelaws.html