The Whole Story

June 4, 2008, 12:30 pm; posted by
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Swearing, interrupting, speeding, gossiping . . . we all have bad habits, some more noticeable or annoying than others. I\’ve discovered a new one in myself, one that surprised me because of its irregularity and motivation. I tell people the end of movies, plays, and books, especially ones with surprise endings, like “The Sixth Sense” and Life of Pi. The reason is that I want them to appreciate the story as a whole, to grasp the metaphors and themes as they relate to our lives, because that\’s what makes a story meaningful.

I think my bad habit stems from something deeper, though. Forgive me if you\’re one of these people, but I have trouble with Christians who are intensely focused on prophecy. I know a few Christians whose belief system revolves around Revelation and Daniel, in conjunction with the works of Hal Lindsay and Tim LaHaye. These people believe we are in the end times right now, and therefore study and interpret prophecy in an attempt to divine where we are in the book of Revelation.

Revelation is the end of the story. But God seems to have always been about the journey, the lessons along the way. God\’s promises are fulfilled in time, from Abraham\’s descendants becoming a great nation, to the Israelites fighting for generations to fully claim Canaan, to David\’s struggle to get and keep his throne, to Jesus coming not as a great king, but as a baby who had to grow up. What\’s more, time is where His people learn the lessons that make them capable of fully grasping God\’s promise.

We know the ending of the story: Revelation. We also know the journey: the Great Commission. Therefore, while those who are focused on prophecy annoy me, they do recognize an important part of the story that I\’m missing. Likewise, they may miss out on the journey in their anticipation for the ending. One part without the other is an incomplete narrative, not what God intended.

Take up my bad habit. Look at the story as a whole, from the beginning to the end, and look for those overarching themes and metaphors, meant to infuse our journey with meaning and prepare us for the ending.


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