Doug Creamer column: Our story
Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 19, 2021
By Doug Creamer
We all have a story. We have unique experiences that make us who we are today. Those experiences, combined with our perception of how we see God interacting with our lives, creates our testimony. Our testimony is our “God story.” Do we see God as close and intimate with us, or a more distant God who watches over us?
You know that I believe that God is close and intimate with us. The Bible teaches us that he created us for fellowship. The Bible also teaches us that God knows the number of hairs on our heads. In my case, he is going to have to count daily, if not hourly, to keep up with that information. If he saw me in my mother’s womb, he must be keeping a much closer watch on us than any of us imagine.
We all go through difficult times, and how we see God interacting with us during those times helps to create a story, our story. It’s that story of how we got through the trials of life that God wants us to tell others who find themselves stuck in the hurricanes of life. Difficult times can feel like hurricanes, snowstorms or earthquakes, when everything that we consider solid gets shaken up. It’s in those moments that we often turn to God for help, when we find ourselves dependent upon him.
I remember a number of years ago that a friend’s wife got cancer. Instead of announcing it at church, they found a dozen people who believed in God’s power to heal and they surrounded themselves with those people. They saturated her life with prayer and support. While I don’t remember all the details of her treatment, I do remember them announcing to the church that she was cancer free. I also remember that anyone they knew after that who received a cancer diagnosis also received a visit from this couple. They wanted to share their story.
In the middle of difficult or even tragic times, we need the hope that others who have sailed those seas and survived those storms can bring us. We need to know that we are not alone, that others have felt our pain and hopelessness. We need people with similar experiences to show us the way to the other side. That’s why your story, your experiences, are so vital to the kingdom of God.
Recently, I found myself sitting in a doctor’s office hearing the news that I had what looked like a cancerous growth on my arm. I remembered a former pastor telling us about hearing similar news. I called him after I left the doctor’s office. I needed to hear the story again, how he got through it. Thankfully my pathology report came back “no cancer” and my arm is healing up well. But I needed my former pastor’s story and his prayers to see me through.
Many of you have stories that others need to hear. I know they are painful, but the hope you found could help others who might drown. I can’t tell you how many students I helped whose parents had separated or divorced. Seeing that I made it through helped them take steps and move forward in their lives. I didn’t want to expose that pain in my life, but because I was willing, it helped so many students who needed to hear my story.
Your story might be about COVID survival. Maybe you or your child has been through the torture of drug addiction. You may have a story of surviving an abusive relationship. There are so many of you who have dealt with sudden medical emergencies like heart attacks that can share some comforting words with others. Maybe your story is about the tragic loss of a loved one and how he helped you pick up the pieces of your life. Whatever your story, there are others in your life who need to hear it so they can find their path to survival.
I want to encourage you to consider your story and be willing to share it with others who are facing similar circumstances. One of the most powerful stories you can share with someone is how you came to faith in Jesus. Many people are struggling with doubts, fears, shame, and other things that are holding them back from God. Your story might free them and open their hearts to a personal relationship with their loving heavenly father. We never really know the power of our words to bring hope in the middle of storms unless we share them. Be willing to share your story.
Doug Creamer has a new book at Amazon: EncouragingU: Summer Stories. Contact him at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or email@example.com.