‘Yes, Virginia, there is a Storyteller”

“I had always felt life first as a story; and if there is a story there is a story teller.”
G. K. Chesterton’s story intersected and impacted the story of C.S. Lewis, two Englishman
living at the turn of the 20th century.

“I had always felt life first as a story; and if there is a story there is a story teller.”
G. K. Chesterton’s story intersected and impacted the story of C.S. Lewis, two Englishman
living at the turn of the 20th century.

In Surprised By Joy, the story of his journey to faith, Lewis poses an analogy, “if Shakespeare and Hamlet could ever meet, it must be Shakespeare’s doing. Hamlet could initiate nothing.” Lewis realizes over time that Shakespeare and Hamlet could meet, only if Shakespeare wrote himself into the story. And, he would have to take the initiative because Hamlet could not.

This is precisely what God did. God, the Author, the Creator wrote Himself into “the story” so humans could know him. By writing Himself into the human story- my story and your story, God initiated contact with His creatures through His revelation and primarily through the incarnation of His son. Otherwise individuals would have no story and no knowledge of Him. There would have been no clarifying story in which to place the individual stories – no overarching meta-narrative for Christians as in: creation- Fall -redemption – new creation.

Apart from Him, and from knowing Him, individual stories do not make sense. One’s life story is God’s story, authored by Him. He places my story smack dab in the middle of His story. He providentially creates and uniquely orchestrates my life to bring Him glory through my story as Paul affirms in Ephesians 1, “we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”

As I chart His hand in my life, I gain insight into His purpose. Because I am the only one who can live my story, I am the only one who can reflect His glory through my story. Understanding and accepting my story becomes a tool of personal spiritual formation.

What if I don’t like my story; what if it seems too overwhelming to make sense of? Were these the thoughts of the young Jewish slave girl in II Kings 5 whom God used to impact the army general of Israel’s greatest enemy? Her responses fascinate me.

Is it then, such risky business to trust the character of the Storyteller; to trust that the love of the Storyteller and His choice of orchestration trump the fleeting confusion that impacts us as the story characters? Our anchor IS the Storyteller. My hope for clarity rests in His sovereign grace.

Gail Seidel served as Mentor Advisor for Spiritual Formation in the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) and as an Adjunct Professor in the D Min in Spiritual Formation in the D Min Department at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a BA in English from the University of Texas, a Masters in Christian Education from Dallas Seminary and a D Min in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is a contributor to the textbook, Foundations of Spiritual Formation, Kregel Academic. She served as co-director for Christian Women in Partnership Russia with Entrust, an international church leadership-training mission. She and her husband Andy live in Fredericksburg, Texas. They have 2 married children and 6 wonderful grandchildren--Kami, Kourtney, Katie, Mallory, Grayson, and Avery.


  • Laura

    I never thought of our stories like you describe in your paragraph on Shakespeare and Hamlet. Shakespeare had to initiate, just as God does. Hmmm … I’m going to ponder on that more.

  • Sharifa Stevens

    I love the analogy!

    There are so many times where I need a story to understand an abstract concept. The Hamlet/Shakespeare analogy does that so well.

    I was listening to Donald Miller speak on the narrative arc, and he basically said that the best stories involve great conflict/cost, and great reward. He adjured us to see our lives as stories that the Lord is writing…and to be an interesting one at that! Because pursuing a Volvo, or an expensive pair of shoes or a raise…well, it’s boring, and doesn’t reflect God’s glory. He challenged us to amp up the goal, and lean into conflict.

    I so appreciate your bringing to light the "story" that is my life, existing in the middle of God’s meta-narrative.

    And isn’t it cool that we already know the end of the Story? Laughing

  • Gwynne Johnson

    Risk Taking
    Knowing the one asking does make the risk more manageable, eh? I recently heard a challenging question. "Can you think of a biblical character that God didn’t ask to take a big risk? to do a hard thing?"