What kinds of stories do we love to hear? In general, they are the ones in which the tension builds for the main character, escalating into what appears to be an impossible situation. We wonder, How will they every get out of this one? Whatever dream or hope was there appears crushed. This is the end — when all seems lost.
But it isn’t. Something unexpected happens — an unforeseen event, a surprising rescue. We feel a sudden upturn of emotion and a delight at the happy ending that comes. It’s all part of the art of story-telling: building tension, reaching a climax, and then resolving the plot to a satisfying conclusion.
But stories are more than just entertainment. They are trying to tell us something about the story of our lives — especially when all seems lost. Think about your own darkest moment or most perplexing situation. What did you do? How did you respond? What kept you going? Sometimes remembering those stories we love can give us the courage to push through and keep going.
But the greatest of all stories is the Bible itself. And in it lies the darkest moment in history — the brutal torture and murder of the noblest man ever to live. So many had set their hopes on Him. So many believed that He was the One who would set things right. But their hope was crushed with His crucifixion. This was the end — when all seemed lost.
But it wasn’t. Something unexpected happened. It was the most unforeseen event, the most surprising rescue of all time. This man awoke from the cold grip of death, took off His grave clothes, and walked out of that tomb. This wasn’t the end. This was the beginning. Jesus was alive.
All the stories we have ever loved are echoes of this great story. Our story is also to become another one of those echoes. Let me tell you how that happened in one of my darkest moments. I graduated from college without direction, without a job, and without hope. I was totally prepared to do absolutely nothing. When it seemed that all was lost, I got an unexpected invitation to be a part of an intern program at a local church. It became two wonderful years that set me on the path into the ministry. I have other stories like this one. I suspect you do as well.
The story of Jesus is to be our story. What the Father did for the Son is to be a pattern for us, one that we can count on with bedrock assurance. There are no hopeless situations. There is never a time when all is lost. God will come through in a way we could have never predicted. This is true for all the things we may face in this life. It’s true for the task God will call us out to do. It’s even truer when we face death.
What are you facing today that seems hopeless? What hope does the story of Jesus give to you?