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Invited Into His Story - Encouragement for Today - April 4, 2018

Invited Into His Story - Encouragement for Today - April 4, 2018

Sarah Mackenzie

April 4, 2018
Invited Into His Story
SARAH MACKENZIE

“Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Proverbs 16:24 (NIV)

My son was 4 years old when I read aloud the legend of the first U.S. president, George Washington, and the cherry tree. Maybe you know it? It goes something like this:

In his youthful foolishness, 6-year-old George Washington used a hatchet to cut down one of his father’s prized cherry trees. He regretted it almost immediately, knowing he would be whipped as punishment for being so careless and brazen. When his father asked him if he did it, the small boy drew himself up and proclaimed, “I cannot tell a lie; I did cut it down with my hatchet.” He didn’t get punished, because his father — in legendary wisdom — declared that an honest son was worth more than a thousand cherry trees.

I read the story to my son, Drew, and then sent him out to play while I finished cleaning the kitchen. When I looked up a few minutes later, I saw him hacking away at my yellow tea roses with a large stick, his little body swinging in exuberant destruction.

I flew to the back door and threw it open, shrieking to him to stop and asking what on earth he thought he was doing.

Drew dropped his stick and turned his brown eyes to me, “Ask me if I did it!” he exclaimed.

You know where this is going.

I asked him, of course, and he responded by puffing up his chest and declaring, “I cannot tell a lie!”

My tea roses paid the price that day, but what I learned has stayed with me long past the tea roses would have anyway. That lesson is simply the power of words. Specifically, the power of a well-told story.

Stories arouse within each of us an insatiable thirst for heroism. They are sweet and healing, yes, and they’re also incredibly inspiring.

In 2 Samuel chapter 12, God sends a prophet, Nathan, to talk to King David. Nathan is sent to rebuke David for his bad behavior (following his adultery with Bathsheba). David has become lost in his own world, failing to see what his actions are doing to the lives of the people around him. He cannot see his life for what it has become.

It’s helpful to notice that Nathan didn’t arrive in the king’s presence and begin to deliver a lesson or lecture. He didn’t begin by reciting laws, commandments and dire warnings.

Rather, Nathan told a story.

“There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor …” (2 Samuel 12:1b, NIV)

That story reached King David where nothing else could. He dropped his defenses and opened up to something truer than the story itself — the message God wanted him to hear.

When, as they say, we cannot see the forest for the trees, a story helps us to see. Proverbs 16:24 reminds us: Words are powerful. “Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”

When we’re reading the story of Jesus healing Jairus’ daughter, or curing the lepers, or raising Lazarus from the dead, we understand in a visceral way that God is good, kind and powerful. When God pours manna from the heavens to feed the Israelites in the wilderness, we realize He will provide all that we need, right when we need it.

Stories bring this truth right down to our bones. They nourish us. We begin to understand that we’re only one small part of a great, big, glorious story, and the author of that story has invited us into it. We begin to realize our role is to seek after and follow Him, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in.

This is a story that’s indeed sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. What a wonder that we’ve been cast as one of the characters in it, to tell the tale of courage, trust and undying love. To be invited into His story.

Lord, thank You for the invitation to Your story. Help me hear Your voice in every story I encounter and, by sharing stories with others in my life, love others as You love them. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Proverbs 18:20, “From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Discover how stories can make a tremendous impact on the lives of your kids in the new book from Sarah Mackenzie, The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids.

Find out which stories are Sarah Mackenzie’s favorites to share with children of all ages on the Read-Aloud Revival booklist. Click here to get yours FREE.

CONNECT:
If you’re looking to connect with your kids in meaningful ways through stories, you’ll appreciate this podcast and online community dedicated to helping you. Learn more at readaloudrevival.com.

Enter to WIN a copy of The Read-Aloud Family by Sarah Mackenzie. In celebration of this book, Zondervan will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, April 9, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
How can you inspire someone in your life today with a simple story?

© 2018 by Sarah Mackenzie. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Zondervan, a division of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, for their sponsorship of today's devotion.

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