God and Stories: The Lost Basketball Shoes

By: Dr. Adrianne Miles

Last week, I talked about the gift of stories. God has given us this gift to help us communicate with others. As a bonus, he created our brains to produce oxytocin, a chemical that makes us feel good, when we engage in good stories. Telling people good stories makes them feel good. When people feel good, rapport is built, and they want to hear more. This is exciting news for Christians! God has stacked the deck in our favor to help us share His story with a lost world.

One of the best ways to share the gospel is to share yourself—tell people the stories of your life and tell them what God did in those stories. In order to see God in the stories of our lives, we must know Him and know his Word. The more we are in God’s Word and the more time we spend with him, the more it will become second nature to make connections between God’s Word and the world around us.

The best way to do this is to recognize that God is always at work, see Him working, and talk about Him. Let me share an example from my life. My son lost his expensive basketball shoes. Saying it that way isn’t much of a story, but I turned the event into a story, a story in which I recognized God’s amazing work in ordinary lives.

Last Thursday before basketball practice Zac couldn’t find his basketball shoes. He and his dad looked all over the house. No basketball shoes. The last time he remembered having them was Tuesday at basketball practice. Tuesday after school at a large public high school. It was Thursday night. He had left them in the gym two days ago. The only thing we could do at 9:30 at night was pray. I went to bed praying and woke up throughout the night praying. The next morning, Zac went to school early to look. I prayed while he was gone, but no shoes, not in the gym, not in the lost-and-found, nowhere. I lost a lot of hope but prayed that the shoes would be found or that Zac would learn whatever lesson God was trying to teach him. Zac went back to school that night for a game. His shoes had been missing for three days. He texted minutes after arriving at school: “I found my shoes. They were in a locker in a locker room.” He had gone to his coach’s office but stopped off in a locker room, a locker room that he never uses, to visit the restroom. When he walked into the locker room leading to the restroom, he saw his gym bag (with the shoes inside!) just sitting there in an open locker. He didn’t just see his shoes; we all saw God’s amazing answer to our prayers!

It is not enough for me to recognize God at work in my everyday life. I must share Him. I leveraged that story for God’s glory by talking to my son about how God cares about the details of his life. I told my friends and co-workers about it. I posted it on Facebook, and now I am telling you. Why? So that you will know that God is ever-present, even in 2017, so that you will get a glimpse of God’s love for a teenage boy and think about how much God loves you, and so that you will tell stories of how what God is doing in your life.

Stories are a gift from God. He created us to love stories—to feel good when we engage in them. There are stories all around us—in literature, movies, songs, the news, and most importantly in our own lives. The more time we spend with God, the easier it will be to see His hand at work and to help others see Him in the stories all around us.

Dr. Adrianne Miles is Assistant Professor of English and Linguistics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.

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