Do you enjoy a good love story? I do! If I am completely honest, I am a sucker for the Hallmark Channel. I think many of us would admit that we want a happily ever after. We want someone to desire to be with us and love us unconditionally. This summer, I read a book called The Story; it is a chronological version of the Bible in one long story. I read it at the same time as I read, “The Heart of the Story.” Did you know that the Bible could be looked at as one good Love Story? No, it is not cheesy like the Hallmark Channel; instead it is about a God who desires a relationship with you. He loves you so much that the entire book is about “his love story of redemption”.
The Bible can be hard to read at times. I know that I have struggled to understand the Old Testament. However, these two books will help you make sense of it and in fact, these two books ignited my love for reading the Bible again. Listen to how the author describes the Bible- “There are two stories being written at the same time throughout the pages of the Bible- the Upper Story and the Lower Story. The Lower Story is how the story unfolds from the perspective of humanity. The Upper Story is how the story is unfolding from God’s perspective. There are hundreds and hundreds of Lower stories, but it contains just one Upper Story. When you rise above and gaze at all these individual stories, you will see how God used each and every one of them to tell his grand love story of redemption.”
I love this Upper and Lower Story perspective- honestly, it is my favorite part in the book, “The Heart of the Story”. Each chapter starts out with God’s Upper and Lower Story for that part of the Bible. It was truly fascinating. Take for example- my favorite Bible character, Joseph. When we look at Joseph from the lower story perspective, we see suffering after suffering- first with the betrayal from his brothers and being thrown into the pit. From there, sold into slavery and then being falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and thrown into prison. We could easily see how Joseph could have been bitter and angry at God. However, now let’s look at it from the Upper story- listen to this. “But at each step of his journey, when it appeared that God had abandoned him, he chose to trust and to believe that God knew what he was doing. From his Lower Story perspective, Joseph’s life was an unpredictable series of roller coaster events over which he had little control. But in the Upper Story, God had a perfect plan and was in complete control.”
I love this! God had a perfect plan! You see God knew that Joseph would save the people of Israel from a terrible famine but God needed to grow his character before he was given that destiny. One of the most amazing things to me about Joseph was his ability to forgive his brothers after everything they did to him. Joseph says to them, “What you meant for evil, God meant for good.” Wow- I love Joseph’s maturity and character development through his journey from the pit to prison to the palace. Another great quote from the book, “No matter how painful some moments seem, your story is not over. If you love God and align your life to his Upper Story purposes, everything in your life, the ups and downs, the mountaintops and valleys, the highs and the lows, the raises and the rejections, the good and the bad are all working together to accomplish good. Be patient. Trust God. Let him mold you during the difficult seasons to equip you for the assignment ahead.” Such powerful truth!!
What I truly love about this book is that is gives us this great perspective for each character in the Bible: Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Elijah, Daniel…. even new Testament characters like Peter and Paul. Honestly, if you want your passion for the Bible to re-ignite, I highly recommend these books! I read one chapter in “The Story” which is just like reading the Bible because basically word for word from the Scriptures but in chronological order and then I read the corresponding chapter in “The Heart of the Story”! It literally took me all summer but it was well worth the time!
The Heart of the Story’s subtitle reads, “Discover Your Life Within the Grand Epic of God’s Story.” Each of us has a Lower Story and we get to decide if we are going to align it with God’s Upper Story. Wow- that is very exciting! The books says, “God is writing a story and you are a character within it. He wants you to see your story from his perspective. He wants you to align your story to his story. The same God who is at work in the pages of the Bible is at work in your life.” My prayer is that we will all look at our story through the lens of God’s Upper Story! What amazing perspective!
I want to end with this final quote- I pray that we can all reach this goal! “God takes the least likely candidate and uses them to accomplish his grand purposes. We see this over and over and over again. Why does he do this? So that when something important happens, that person (and everyone else, for that matter) will have to point to a higher power- to God- for an explanation. The goal of our life is to point people to God.”