What's Your Backstory?

“Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!”

1 Chronicles 16:8  

It was a number of years ago that our church hosted Christian recording artist Chris Sligh in concert at our church. And like most of us walking this planet Chris had endured his fair share of hurt and pain. What made Chris different from many though was his willingness to share his story openly without blaming others as he had learned God works in and through everything he had ever gone through in this life for God’s glory and for the good of Chris.  

Instead of playing into the devils hand Chris rose above life’s hurts and pains looking for the silver lining in life as it were where, “all things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to His purposes.” Chris sang the words to a new song he had written that contained the lyrics, “God turns things backwards” and he shared how in the world we are defined by “what we bring to the table” and immediately the Lord brought to mind The Last Super we read about in John 13 as Chris spoke.

In John 13:1-7 the apostle recounts the story of Jesus last meal with His disciples before He went to the Cross. “Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter. And Peter said to Him, "Lord, are You washing my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this."
In a world where we are defined by what we bring to the table Jesus steps in and God turns things backwards. I love the picture the picture these verses now bring to my mind. No longer are we defined by what we bring to the table, because of God’s love we are now defined by what Jesus brings to the table. Just like the disciples seated at the Lords Supper that night we often times don’t understand what Jesus is doing, (To be perfectly honest, most of the time). That night around the table everything seemed all backwards for the disciples of Jesus as they knew in their hearts they should have been washing His feet and yet it was God who sent His Son to wash ours.

The song Chris was singing went on, “God gave imperfection worth” and I imagine that’s how the disciples must have felt when Jesus stooped down in front of them one by one and humbly and gently washed their dirty, tired, achy feet. Washing their feet that night was just the beginning of God giving imperfection worth. The Cross would provide the ultimate display of God’s love and the value that He places upon each of our lives, imperfect as we may be.

Because of the Cross the song continued, “All thats broken comes alive, You make all the hurt and shattered things brand new.” I remember thinking as I listened to the words of the song, “I wonder where Chris received the inspiration for it? It didn’t take long to find out. After the concert I invited Chris to go get something to eat and as we sat on the patio of a local restaurant with no one around us to make the conversation uneasy, I asked Chris plainly, “So what’s your story?” And pretty much the rest of the night I sat, listened and munched on chips and salsa as Chris shared the backstory to pretty much every hit song he had ever written. I was humbled by his transparency and encouraged by the grace and mercy of God that Chris had discovered through the highs and lows of life. I enjoyed our conversation just as much or even more than the concert itself as knowing the backstory made all the songs more meaningful.  

What I enjoyed about listening to Chris is what I believe Revelation 12:11 teaches us as to why our backstory is so important. Verse 11 says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” We often forget that there is power both in Jesus shed blood on Calvary’s Cross, and there is power in our personal testimony, our backstory and how Jesus has changed our lives.

Don’t forget, your backstory is powerful in telling others about the grace and mercy of God in our own lives, as it’s not just your story that people hear, but the gospel of Jesus comes shinning through! No one is beyond the reach of God and hearing your story might just be the thing that is needed for others to see Jesus working in their story too!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new”

2 Corinthians 5:17

Michael Osthimer





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