Stories are Powerful
By Ken Walker –
There’s a reason Jesus used allegorical anecdotes—parables—with His audiences: He knew the power of story. Stories inspire, motivate and encourage in a way that enlivens teaching.
In modern times, few authors illustrate the power of story better than Max Lucado, whose books have sold approximately 80 million copies. His use of engaging stories instruct and hearten encourage readers.
I especially remember Fearless, the 2012 title I reviewed with a weekly men’s group. It offered hope after I watched my Great Recession-impacted income decline for four consecutive years.
The thing I marvel over is the multiplicity of stories that work their way into Lucado’s books. Sure, many come from the sermons he preaches at his church in San Antonio, Texas. But it takes hard work to turn a sermon into readable book copy.
Things have turned around considerably since my men’s group discussed Fearless. That is my way of explaining why I have yet to find time to read Lucado’s more recent You’ll Get Through This.
A review copy landed in my mailbox a year ago, during my stint as a monthly columnist for a Christian trade magazine.
Digging through my office, I retrieved it recently to sample the opening pages. Again, I marveled at the dramatic, real-life anecdotes sprinkled throughout the opening chapter.
The tales were gut-wrenching, starting with the woman abandoned by her husband after 20 years of marriage, three children, and a dozen relocations. Traded in for a younger model.
Though she tried to maintain her composure, she couldn’t and tears spilled out in the grocery store. Lucado prayed with her and offered words of reassurance. Though it wouldn’t end quickly, he told her: “God will use this mess for good . . . don’t despair. With (His) help you will get through this.”
Two days later the pastor received a call from a 57-year-old friend who had just lost his job for making crude remarks at work. Naturally, that upset the man’s family and left him feeling terrible. Again, Lucado reassured him with words similar to those he had offered the abandoned wife.
Next came the story of a recent high school graduate Lucado met at the café where she worked. Her parents divorced when the girl was six and remarried later, only to divorce a second time. Now they had given her an ultimatum: decide which one of us you want to live with. You can guess the context of Lucado’s response.
Strength of Your Experience
Lucado relate those tales to the biblical story of Joseph and how God placed it in the Bible to teach people to trust God to overcome adversity. As he writes, “What Satan intends for evil, God, the Master Weaver and Master Builder, redeems for good.”
The skillful way Lucado weaves together biblical teaching with modern-day experiences is instructive for every would-be blogger, article writer and author.
While I’m not suggesting it is easy to write a best seller, never forget the uniqueness of your own life. The strength of sharing your experiences in written form will be recalling them in such a way that—as Lucado does—they will uplift readers and give them hope.