Words of Hope: Stories That Save Us

When you read or listen to the stories, the ones that deeply change and transform us are the ones with the great themes of life at their core. Struggle, redemption, betrayal, forgiveness, death, and resurrection. This seems to me such a testimony about the truth and validity of the Christian faith. Stories of chaos or survival of the fittest don’t bring us change, they bring us despair. Is it any wonder so many of our literary writers in the camp of atheism and nihilism end in suicide? 

We recently watched two powerful stories on the London Stage, Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserable. Christian themes are at the very heart of both stories. I look over and see my family weeping as the main character Christine sings to the Phantom, “Pitiful creature of darkness, what kind of life have you known. God give me courage to show you, you are not alone.” We weep again as we watch Jean Valjean in Les Miserable sing, “God on high hear my prayer, in my need, you have always been there.”  

I would love to talk with my new atheist friend about the power of story. What stories change and transform us? How many people walk out of nihilistic Waiting for Godot ready to bring greater love and compassion to the world? It’s true that atheistic stories are paragons of pointing out the shortcomings of faith such as Voltaire’s Candide. These stories are experts at uncovering hypocrisy. Yet, how many atheistic stories redeem us?  

As those who love God, our stories of redemption in our own lives speak greater volumes than any apological argument. As Dostoyevsky wrote, “Beauty will save the world, and nothing is more beautiful than Christ.” A beautiful story has Christ at the center. These stories in our lives and those throughout history save us. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:16-17