Find Your Story
From Psalm 136
My dad wrote a book for his fiftieth birthday. He titled it Zero to Fifty–In Fifty Years Flat!, and it’s structured as a collection of stories, following his life from childhood to adulthood.
I learned so much! For instance, I had no idea what a prankster my dad was in college, tricking a buddy of his into thinking they were about to drive (full speed!) across an unbridged ravine. Nor did I know how he found his way to college that first drive from Rochester, New York, to Cookeville, Tennessee, on his own.
His mom had told him to “follow the signs to Buffalo,” which is south of Rochester, but only by about an hour. So literal thinker that he is, my dad followed the signs to Buffalo—all the way to downtown Buffalo, in fact—and had no idea how this was supposed to help him find Tennessee.
His solution? He spotted a Station Wagon with Tennessee plates and—no joke—assumed they must be headed South, so he trailed them (even stopping for gas when they stopped and waiting in the parking lot at Bob Evans while they ate dinner). Eventually, after ten-plus hours of following that Station Wagon, plus a little dumb luck or divine intervention, he made it to Tennessee Tech … where, months later, he met my mother.
The later stories—about our family, my growing-up years, our summer travels, and various fiascos—I have my own memory of, but Dad tells them differently. His perspective brings fresh insight. Even the stories I knew (or thought I knew), I enjoyed reading and learning about afresh, through him.
Psalm 136 is a treasure of insight. It’s a collection of stories, similar to my dad’s book, but they’re captured in one-sentence reels:
“He made the sun and the moon.” (v. 7) “He brought the people of Israel out of Egypt.” (v. 11) “He led his people through the desert.” (v. 16) “He defeated great kings.” (v. 17)
After each sentence, which describes something of what the Lord has done, this phrase follows: “His love continues forever.”
If you read the psalm in its entirety, you’ll piece together the full story—this is a chronological retelling of the story of God’s people, from infancy to maturity. This is the story of thousands of years captured in the span of twenty-six verses.
Why take the time to write something like this? So the people had something to pass down, and so the next generation had somewhere to turn—a written record—when they doubted the Lord’s love or presence or activity in their lives.
What’s your story? Before the words “His love continues forever,” what would you write? Try finishing these phrases:
“He made …” “He brought …” “He led …” “He defeated …”
What you write is the beginnings of a story—one you can pass down of God’s love and presence, of His faithfulness and grace and ability. Some stories your family may know, or think they know, but they’ll be surprised at your details and perspective. Some stories will be brand-new, and the next generation will be grateful you shared them.
Your story is a treasure. An unmatchable addition to the great story of God’s forever love.
Next Week’s Reading: Psalm 137–143.