Over the past few days, millions upon millions of people have lined up outside of movie theaters all over the world to pay $20+ for a movie ticket and another $15 for popcorn and a soda. They did so willingly, joyfully, enthusiastically without any reservation at all. They (and I) do it because deep down in our glory-thirsted souls, we have a craving that this broken world so often leaves unfulfilled. We have an itch we just cannot seem to scratch. It’s not money, or comfort, or power we are after. I mean, not ultimately anyway. No, this hunger runs deeper. Those are mere ends.
What we are really after is a better story.
I remember watching the original Star Wars trilogy on a brand new VCR one Christmas morning a quarter century or so ago and totally losing myself in the “galaxy far, far away”. Even as a kid, Star Wars offered total escapism. You couldn’t help but be swept up the story. The basics of great storytelling were all here. Good. Evil. Drama. And of course a happy ending. It was textured, layered, complex narrative but simple at the same. Easy to follow and even easier to invest in emotionally. Even as an awkward pre-teen I could sense this deep longing for a good story. And there was a reason for that. Good stories you see, serve to wet our appetite for great stories.
We are made to find true, lasting joy in a better story. The story of redemption.
A Better Story for Broken Spirits
In Exodus 6 both Moses and Israel are near rock bottom. Moses, in his return to Egypt, has not only failed to lead to the liberation of the Hebrew people but has actually led to even harsher burdens being strapped to their backs.
But God knows that Moses and Israel need. They do not need a list. They need a better story to believe.
Exodus 6:2-5 2 God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners.
But Israel could not grab on to this good story.
Exodus 6:9 9 Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.
Life in a fallen world creates hardened hearts that have a difficult time hearing good news. God knew, what Moses and Israel both needed in the midst of their brokenness was not a list of tasks but the promise that their story was actually God’s story. They were God’s people and God had a plan for them. The Israelites needed to know that “I Am” is the Lord, they needed to know that God had a plan to establish a covenant and then keep those promises and that the difficulties of their present condition did not annul those promises.
Broken spirits don’t need advice as much as they need a better story to believe.
The most influential thing in your life right now is the story you are choosing to believe.
So enjoy good stories but lose yourself in the best story. A story about a sinless Savior who lives the perfect life, we’ve failed to live, dies in the place of those who would believe and (SPOILER ALERT) triumphantly emerges from the dead 3 days later. It’s a story that ends with all things made new.
A story with a happy ending that never really ends.