How very post-modern and emergent of me to talk about story.
I did it almost a year ago having just read a Donald Miller book and Kevin over on creideamh.ie just did it (although I must admit it was a little over my head in parts! Perhaps I’ll understand him when I’m older 😉 ), so its all very hip and current.
Anyway, I was just reading about Joseph (in the bible that is) – a well-known story from my Sunday School infancy and my Girls’ Brigade stage performance (I was a dancer – yep, me – a DANCER. Made a change from my narrating days in Primary School.). I got to the part about Potiphar’s wife fancying a piece of his action (if you know what I mean) and him being all, like, ‘nice try lady, but I’m not into that’ and dashing off, foolishly leaving his coat behind. Cue dramatic music and scene change. Potiphar comes home to his wife’s story about Joseph’s attempt to taste the forbidden fruit (if you know what I mean) and in the space of 4 average length biblical verses, Joseph is thrown in prison, becomes bezzy mates with the jailor and ends up running the show (if you know what I mean).
That got me thinking. Even though it says that God was with Joseph, attributing that as to why Joseph finds favour, I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen overnight. It probably took months if not years of ‘good behaviour’ for Joseph to be recognised as trustworthy and upright. We’re not told about the days where he cried at the injustice, nor the times where he questioned God, nor the nights he spent sleeplessly on a cold stone floor. We don’t hear about the daily grind of Joseph’s life in prison.
And that’s the thing – stories often take longer than one single day to unfurl. How did Joseph end up where he was? Its a long story. How did I end up in France? Its a long story. How did this person end up becoming a follower of Jesus? Its a long story…
I suppose faith is being ready to live the days that make up the story and still hold on to God. How will I make it through this conflict at work? Its a long story. How will I deal with my husband’s illness? Its a long story. How can I live my life for God when nothing looks the way I hoped it would? Its a long story…
But the good thing about stories, is that there are usually sub-plots and diversions – the little stories that happen within minutes. Like a last-minute dash for the train and the euphoria of making it by the skin of your teeth. Like a child’s inadvertant poetry: “Mummy, you’re beautiful like a flower, more beautiful than colour”. Like a stunning sunset as you drive off on holiday with friends.