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Feature Article

The Stories Among Us

It takes getting outside of ourselves to see all the ways God is working.

Joseph Miller November 12, 2022

The faint hangings-on of dusk disappeared in the window next to us as the sky grew purplish-blue. In a Mexican restaurant surrounded by the craggy hills and mountains of north-central Arkansas, I sat sharing a meal with a local pastor-musician and his teenage son. Rocky, the father, paused in the middle of a story. “Man, I’m sorry to talk so much,” he said. “It must get tiresome, just listening to people all the time—I still can’t believe you came out here just to get to know us better.” 

Illustration by Adam Cruft

My role at In Touch is to connect with faithful readers, viewers, and listeners who’ve had their lives shaped by the teaching of Dr. Stanley. Whether they’ve watched for years or just recently tuned in, these people provide feedback for our ministry and stories of encouragement for people like you, reading this now.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard some version of “What’s so interesting about me?” from people I contact on behalf of In Touch. Oftentimes, discussing what this ministry means to a person leads to an entire book’s worth of tragedies, triumphs, regrets, and convictions. Not everyone’s life carries the same dramatic beats as somebody else’s, but there’s always a meaningful story there.

I reassured Rocky that I enjoyed hearing their tales, sharing meals with parents and friends, seeing the gorgeous landscapes that mark their unique corner of the world. In less than a day the Thomas family had already invited me into real, honest conversations about their lives. I felt honored, frankly, that they would trust a stranger so much.

We all have a story worth sharing. And it can be hard to see our own—we need an outsider, an “other,” to perhaps put together pieces of a much larger mosaic.

Most believers are familiar with the concept of a “testimony,” that is, the story of how one came to faith in Jesus. The Bible encourages us to share our story with others. But I think our testimony is more than how we first came to know Jesus—it’s the entirety of our walk with Him. It includes the low moments, the months we’ve waited for an answer to prayer, difficult conflicts with others. We all have a story worth sharing. And it can be hard to see our own—we need an outsider, an “other,” to perhaps put together pieces of a much larger mosaic. Every person’s tale is a testament to God’s faithfulness, both to His Word and to His people.

As you watch or read the stories we share, consider your own. Think about the people in your life, whether loved ones or strangers, who could be encouraged by hearing about your challenges and triumphs. While the “author and finisher of our faith” is by no means finished with your story (Heb. 12:2 KJV), there’s something in it even now—a gift, a moment of grace—for someone nearby. Someone looking to you for a sign of a hope. 

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