"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
I've been busy all day preparing for my story time with a new set of three-year-olds tomorrow. All the toys have been carefully placed in the toy box. New sets of stickers have been printed for the children to take home. A bright, colorful, big-book version of the story has been assembled and copies of the picture book have been boxed for resale. Everything is set and ready to go!
At least that's what I thought until I started to retell this familiar story using my new big book illustrations! I recited the first few lines and stopped. I started again and stumbled over the wording! Oh my! Again, I started and stopped but pushed forward toward the end. You would think, being the author of the story, that I'd have the words down pat! But, like any other story, if it's not told or read over and over again, the words become forgotten. And, that's exactly the case with my performance. I'd not read the book in about a month and my memory of the exact wording was fuzzy.
It's like that with God's story too, isn't it? We think we know what His story is because we've read it or heard it so many times before. But if we stop reading or listening to that old, familiar story our memory tends to fail us. Oh, we might remember enough to paraphrase His thoughts and we might even be able to quote our favorite verses. But, when it comes to actually recalling God's story, we fall short of the details.
In today's verse, Paul states that the Bible "was written to teach us so that, [through the endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures], we might have hope." The Bible doesn't exist just to tell us stories. It's purpose isn't to entertain us or just give us an account of history. It's there to teach us God's plan for living life. It's meant to be emulated in our lives and passed onto our children, our grandchildren, our friends. God had His words written down so that all generations would know them, learn them, live them and teach them so that "we might have hope" for a future with God himself.
Now, the next time we're cuddled up with our children or grandchildren reading their favorite story book let's be reminded to introduce them to God's story so that they too might be taught to be encouraged and have hope in that old, old story!