Most religious people would agree that the way God normally speaks to humankind is through the Holy Scriptures of their respective religions. It is reasonable to believe that there should exist a necessary top-down relationship and communication between God and humans. God is our creator, and we are His creatures. To be sure, a purely bottom-up belief system would be to create a God in our own image.
Nevertheless, we can only approach this metaphysical God, this God from above, from our human position here below. So, if God speaks most clearly and objectively to all humanity from the various scriptures of the different faith traditions, then God speaks personally most intently and profoundly through our individual experiences and memories (our stories). Frederick Buechner said in Telling Secrets, “[It is in our] stories in all their particularity… that God makes himself known to each of us more powerfully and personally.”
So how do we connect our stories to God, and thus be reminded of His amazing love and care for us?
The first is to remember. Remember what God has done throughout the ages, how the LORD has saved humankind over and over again. For the Israelites they were to remember that they once “were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there” (Dt 24:18, NIV). For Christians we are to remember the eternal life-giving sacrifice of Jesus as He tells us to “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Co 11:24).
But this is just the first part of re-minding. We need now reflect on how God has worked with each of us personally, not just globally–how our stories connect to God’s story. I often reflect on how far the LORD has taken me from my previous years of alcoholism and addiction–how He has redeemed me personally. I reflect on God’s goodness to me, my family, and the amazing life I get to live in His grace. And I regularly reflect on how God has saved and rescued me by using the Psalmist words, “I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy” (Ps 116:1, NIV).
That is not the end though. It is not enough to just remember and reflect on our personal and collective stories. There is both a now and future story that God wants to be a part of with us, and us with each other. The LORD asks us to renew our minds, to re-do our thinking, to literally and continually re-mind our minds. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Ro 12:2, NIV). As we are renewed we begin to look to help others to re-mind. We hear their stories and show them how they too can connect to the grand story of a loving and personal God in Christ.
© Paul Dordal, 2014