Thursday, May 25, 2017
The Story of Reality
This story is not a fairy tale, but rather it is the Story all fairy tales are really about. Indeed, almost every tale ever written is an echo of this story embedded deep within our hearts. Yet this story is not a tale at all since the Story is true.
As I read The Story of Reality, I kept thinking, "Where has this book been all my life?"
Every religion tells a story of reality. Every philosophy and every individual outlook on life is a take on the way someone thinks the world actually is. There is no escaping it.
I've looked for a book like this for years. I can remember sitting on the floor of the Christian bookstore (back when Christian bookstores were a thing), scanning through dozens of books, trying to find one suitable to give to a non-Christian friend. I wanted something that explained Christianity in a compelling, winsome way, but wasn't overly academic or complicated. I was looking for this book. I guess I never found it until now because it was just published in January.
Gregory Koukl's The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How it Ends, and Everything Important that Happens In Between is kind of a worldview book, but not really. It's kind of an apologetics book (a defense of Christianity), but not really. It's kind of like a fascinating conversation with a really smart, really kind, Christian friend. That's what it feels like.
There is a saying that has been helpful in some ways but I think is misleading in this regard. The saying goes, 'God has a wonderful plan for your life.' From what I understand now, that perspective is in the wrong order. The Story is not so much about God's plan for your life as it is about your life for God's plan. Let that sink in. God's purposes are central, not yours. Once you are completely clear on this fact, many things are going to change for you.
This book is extremely readable and entirely enjoyable. It's only 200 pages. It's non-fiction, but written like a story, in a conversational, highly understandable, relational tone. It's easy enough for a 14-year-old to understand, yet profound enough for a deep-thinking adult to contemplate.
Now, I realize that the idea that God is in charge is bothersome to many people, but what is the alternative? If someone is not in charge, then no one is in charge, and that seems to be a big part of our complaint about the world to begin with.
From now on, this is the book I will give to a friend who has an interest in Christianity. This is a book I will read aloud with my kids when they are young teenagers--allowing us lots of time for all the conversations it will spark. But this is not a book just for inquirers into Christianity. It's for any Christian who wants a shot of adrenaline, a reminder of who we are and why we are here and what we are living for. This book truly is a gift to God's Church, and I hope that you'll look for ways to use it in your circle of influence.
First, trouble, hardship, difficulty, pain, suffering, conflict, tragedy, evil--they are all part of the Story. It is the reason there is any Story at all. The Story not only explains the evil people do; it predicts it. Our world is exactly the kind of world we'd expect it to be if the Story were true and not just religious wishful thinking.
Second--and more important--our Story is not over yet. Evil did not catch God by surprise.