They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony
In West Africa, a griots’ responsibility was to carry on the history of their culture through poetry, dancing and singing. In short, griots were storytellers; repository orators securing that the legacy of West Africa and surrounding countries would carry on forever. This hasn’t changed. Storytelling is all around us. From the televisions shows and movies we watch to the music we listen to, be it fiction or nonfiction we are constantly confronted by characters, plot twists and happy–or sometimes–not so happy endings. This is even truer for the Bible, one of the greatest (love) stories ever told.
From Genesis to Revelations, God inspired and empowered men and women with the Holy Spirit to share their stories to carry on the legacy of Christ. My favorite book of the Bible is the Book of Ruth because it is a story I believe many of us women can either relate to or long for. Brace yourselves for “the Bible according to SH”: a woman named Ruth loses her husband and moves to a land she does not know with her mother-in-law. Both Ruth and her mother-in-law are poor and destitute. While working on a farm Ruth meets a man, Boaz. Boaz is very wealthy. He is captured by Ruth. They fall in love and get married. Boaz redeems not only Ruth but her mother-in-law as well. On the surface this seems like the stuff Disney movies are made of. It is a love story. A wealthy man meets a poor girl and marries her. They ride off into the sunset happily ever after. But there is so much more. Boaz’s redemption of Ruth is an allegory for Christ’s redemption of the Church.
Much like Ruth, we all have what seem like “surface level” stories. We’ve met people. They have become characters in the plot of our lives. Things have happened that didn’t always make sense. We feel like a conglomerate of series of events and per chance serendipitous moments. I’ll tell you a secret. These are our stories. More than that, these stories are our testimonies and God wants us to share them. Paul wrote 13 books of the Bible. All of them inspired by his road to Damascus experience where he encountered God for the first time. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul shares this with the church of Corinth:
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them —yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
This is Paul’s story. He went from persecuting Christians to helping advance the Church; writing more than half of the New Testament. He recognized that interwoven in his story was God’s grace. I love to tell the story of how LJ and I met. Aside from the fact that its pretty mushy, God’s grace, love, faithfulness and redemption are the foundations of our relationship. Our individual stories led us to one another. Together we’re watching a beautiful story unfold. It’s so much greater than us. It is about the power of God and I pray that is what people take away from when we share it. I pray that it will inspire people to believe in love, to trust God even when it seems scary and to never give up after being kicked down. I pray that people see, from our story, is God’s love down to the details of our lives.
Today, I charge you to think about your story. What role did God play? Who will you share it with and what do you want them to take from it? Will your story advance his kingdom, or will you keep the plot to yourself?
Be a griot.
Written by SH. @ Shakirah Adianna