Stories matter.

At Cypher Church we try to include many different voices at our events because we believe in the shared voices from the community. It’s in these voices where we discover pieces of ourselves. By listening to how someone went through ups and downs in life we make the connection, “that happened to me too.” Then as we listen we discover how that person made it out.

It’s human to long for adventure locked in stories. Usually we fill that adventure through stories (although sometimes we work up the courage to live them out).

Picture your favourite story as an example. Some kind of connection draws you into the quest as the heroine fights her way through adversity to defeat the enemy. But that’s not the only victory we notice. The best stories are the ones where we share struggles with the main character. Every journey forces the heroine to confront her own change as a person. Will Marlin the clownfish from Finding Nemo, learn how to become a better dad? Will Batman overcome his loneliness? Will Rey prevail without knowing the source of her identity? Will the hobbits learn how to lead and be brave?

No story or person is worth following if the hero doesn’t face their own adversity and change. The same should be true of God.

The church is in a season called Lent. It’s a time period that leads up to Easter, the most significant time in the Christian faith. Lent is a moment to reflect on sacrifice, and the story of Jesus in the desert, (Matthew 4:1-11).

What good is a God that can’t sympathize with my weaknesses? Who doesn’t experience the same lows as I do? What good is a God if God is far, far away? The desert story offers some curious answers. In the desert Jesus experiences all the temptations, trials, errors, even squaring off with Enemy, as a start to his quest. Jesus faces his test and is given a choice–stay true to the path, or discard your purpose for a temporary gain.

Jesus holds true.

Our own stories are complete with the tensions of highs and lows. When we read closely at the story of Jesus in the desert we find something incredible–our own highs and lows are the ones Jesus faced in the desert. We connect with heroes from stories because they share similar struggles, but in the desert we have a hero who faces the exact struggles as us. And just like heroes that have to change and grow in the face of adversity, we are given the same choice too.

Hidden in the desert is a piece of you–your life is hidden with Jesus. What kind of life? It’s a life where we get new from the old, victory from defeat, relief over the hurt. This is the offer: a call to the best life. Whether you wish to receive that call is up to you.

 

Photo illustration is a commission done by Riley Rossmo.