It is still hard to believe that the mess God rescued me from is the very thing He would use to write my story of hope. In my mind, it was a failure, a disgrace. But God sees our mess through the lens of the cross, which changes everything. Have you been there? If so, then the question arises, “What should I do with this God-given story?” Jesus answered this question, giving specific instructions for how to tell your story of hope.
Why you should tell your story of hope
Encouragement for others
It gives hope to others when we share how God has changed something painful into a heavenly purpose. If we have not yet realized the purpose, just sharing how God is helping us cope creates a glimmer of hope for those who are struggling. Sharing our story at the right time also demonstrates that we care about what they are going through. It declares how amazing God is.
Fulfilling God’s command
Telling our stories of hope is also commanded in scripture. Jesus told his disciples that they should be witnesses (Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-16)). In the book of Acts, the writer talks often about being a witness (Acts 1:8, 1:22, 2:12-13, 3:15, 4:20)
So how much impact can a witness have? Lee Strobel, a former investigative journalist, and atheist has written many books. He states that it only takes one eye witness to solidify a guilty verdict in court. Eyewitnesses tell what they saw. Their words are not theories, but fact.
When you tell your story of hope, (the hope that is within you 1 Peter 3:15), it creates a joy that is hard to describe. It is a combination of satisfaction in being a part of the process, awe for God’s goodness, and exhilaration for the transformation of pain into purpose.
Jesus’ instructions on how to tell your story of hope
When John the Baptist was in jail, he sent a message to Jesus asking if He truly was the Christ, the son of the living God. Jesus told the messenger,
“Go back to John and tell him what you have heard and seen– the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the good news is being preached to the poor.” (Matthew 11:4-5 NLT)
So what have you personally heard and seen?
- Were you blind to God’s ways and Jesus changed that?
- Have you learned to walk in faith after being crippled by difficult life circumstances?
- What habit has God healed you from?
- Are you now hearing God speak to you through circumstances when you used to be deaf to them?
- Did you once feel dead and now you have hope and life?
- How has the good news changed you?
Your story doesn’t have to be lengthy. It just needs to be the facts. Remember it only takes one eyewitness in a court of law. Your story may be the one piece of evidence that a seeking soul needs to hear.
Building bridges for people to hear your story
As excited as we might be to share our stories, we must earn the right to do so. We need to be examples of God’s language of love before we ever open our mouths.
The early church was good at representing Jesus by the way they treated others. They helped those in need. They were servants, just as Jesus was. (Acts 2:46-47, John 13:35)
Here are examples of building bridges:
- When someone tells you about their difficulties, ask them if you can pray for them.
- Tell others what you appreciate about them
- Be honest when someone overpays you for a service or gives you too much change.
- Give random acts of kindness.
Genuinely caring about other people helps them be open to hearing your God-given story.
Not everyone will accept your story of Hope
Jesus, the best storyteller ever, had people that did not believe or accept his message.
- In the parable of the sower and the seed, only 25% of the seed sprouted. (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23)
- Among the 12 disciples, 1 betrayed Jesus.
- When the disciples spoke in languages they had never studied, much of the crowd was praising God, while others said they were drunk. (Acts 2:12-23)
We should not be shocked when some of our family, friends, or acquaintances don’t respond in the way we had hoped for. Our job is simply to plant the seeds of hope.
You can’t give to others what you don’t have yourself
Is your story growing?
Just like water, if our story isn’t moving it becomes stagnant and unappealing. God always has more to write in our story.
Keep your eyes and ears open for ways that God wants to speak into your circumstances. Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him listen.”
While I knew that it was God who got me through my difficult life storms, it wasn’t until years later that I would learn what the real miracle would be.
God has given me the opportunity to write and encourage others. For most people that would seem ordinary. In my case though, it is a miracle. I am a very slow reader due to an eye condition, and never liked any of the language arts when I was in school. So writing is now the growing part of my story. it is the new purpose that grew out of the pain.
Does your story have its roots in Jesus?
Finding hope, joy, and peace is something everyone needs and wants. Google searches on these topics range in the millions. The problem comes when we try to fill that need with something or someone other than Jesus.
There are many who claim to have the answers, but often their solutions are incomplete. Only Jesus brings lasting hope, joy, and peace.
Your story is important. The crisis that spawned it may have been years ago, or maybe it is current. Whatever stage you are in, God wants to continue writing your story. He wants to help you cope right now. God wants people to see how trusting Him brings hope. He wants to change your pain into purpose.
Your story of hope can make all the difference to someone walking the same road that you have already been down. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity.