The beauty of story…

I was asked to “find the importance and beauty in a testimony that lacks an exciting climax”.

Let’s first look at what typically provides exciting climaxes in the plots of stories. Intrigue. Danger. Hardships. Drama. Conflict. So let’s look at the virtue of a testimony that may be lacking these things and instead see that it actually isn’t lacking at all.

I’ve heard testimony after testimony filled with stories of hitting rock bottom and coming up from the pig pen back to the Father’s arms to be welcomed with grace and mercy. And for many years, I thought that’s the only kind of story that could be considered a testimony. But that is not true. Although those stories have value and meaning, sometimes the best stories ever told have no drama.

I’m constantly telling stories. The best stories I tell – and the one’s I’m begged to repeat over and over again – have none of the typical elements that move plot and make space for climactic endings. These stories are called “Slice of Life”. There are several novels that are written in this form, (For example: “Empire Falls”). This type of writing requires a different perspective of reading because it doesn’t always have the drama, intrigue and climactic moments that usually make up a novel. These stories are character studies. I love them. It’s the same way with me and movies. You can blow things up all day and create a massive block-buster but I’d rather see a good story about how people interact with each other and how they live, why they do the things they do. Without characters, all big block-buster movies have are high budgets and a lot of loud noises.

Look at your seemingly lack-luster testimony, void of dramatic pitfalls and explosions, the same way and then you’ve got a great story filled with a character study of who you are, why you do what you do, how you feel and think about things, and – most importantly – who God is to you. A story void of tension and filled with the creator of importance and beauty can’t be a lack-luster story. It isn’t possible.

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