We recently celebrated my aunt’s (my mother’s older sister) 80th birthday via Zoom. Her lineage directly connects to Harriet Tubman, which has always been awesome to know. My wife and children’s bloodline can be traced back to Pocahontas, which excites our daughter Imani. It’s fantastic how my family fits into these historical stories that technology has rewritten. I was hoping that discovering my own DNA roots would present similar results, but knowledge of my narrative, like many African-Americans, doesn’t run as deep.
Although those spectacular family discoveries detail unimagined inspiration, those accounts aren’t perfect. Mother Tubman’s faith walk produced many dark chapters that we find difficult to read. Disney’s tale of Pocahontas is a friendly betrayal of the truth. The real stories aren’t perfect, but that’s OK. Lead Pastor Ben Snyder said, “God is not into perfect pictures; he is into better stories.” The people we celebrate in the Bible weren’t a perfect picture, but they were a better story of faith.
Everyone knows the story of David and Goliath. The tale is miraculous, but we often forget about David’s glaring flaws. He had lows and highs, but he remained a man after God’s own heart.
2 Samuel 2:4
Then the men of Judah came to David and anointed him king over the people of Judah.
But the boy who became king messed up quite a few times, like when he impregnated Bathsheba, his soldier’s (Uriah’s) wife.
2 Samuel 11:4-5
4 Then David sent messengers to get her, and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home. 5 Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.”
Or when he knowingly ordered Uriah into a battle too dangerous to survive.
2 Samuel 11:17
And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers.
But in the end, King David’s story matched his faith.
1 Timothy 6:14-15
14 that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 15 For, at just the right time, Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords.
I said before that my narrative doesn’t run as deep as other family members, but it has strong roots. There’s a house outside of Cambridge, Maryland, that sits on land that my eyes have never seen where the property ends. My Great-Grandfather, Josiah Cephas, started a legacy there because of his faith walk. From Cephas Day to the Moon landing to working on the COVID vaccine, Josiah’s strong faith in God turned into a better story.
What is your idea of a perfect story? Do you see how your faith throughout the hard times has produced a better story for your family?
Read the stories of the Bible and see how flawed characters turned into beautiful stories through faith. Lean on your church family during difficult times.
Dear God, thank you for the stories that show us what your mercy and grace can produce. Many of us are living proof that struggles turn into victories if our faith in you continues to push us forward. Let non-believers or those who turned away from you understand that there is a path to freedom that releases hate and restores hope. Amen.
This post was written by Jaron Camp, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study.
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