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Stories-Survival Guides Compiled by God

Marlene Houk

Burke County

The Falcon, a compact six-passenger, mileage-maker Ford car, produced in the 1960s, became my dad’s car of choice for his four teenage children, three girls, and one boy. In a ten-year span, we all learned to drive his Ford Falcons. I remember he bought four of them and most housed the three-speed gear shift on the column behind the steering wheel, straight drives. He would buy it; we would wreck it. Then he would buy another one whose destiny proved to be the same: dents, broken headlights, and loose bumpers. At one time, all four of us wrecked the same car, a beautiful shiny, champagne-colored 1964 Ford Falcon.

When my children learned to drive, I wondered how in the world my dad had retained his sanity, not to mention his patience.  And how did he clampdown that fear as he was racing to the hospital to see the damage done? My older sister passed out when she turned the car upside down in a field on Highway 64. My older brother ditched one of the Falcons driving up a mountain to his fire-tower operator job. My turn provided me with only a scratch and one small bump, but my younger sister didn’t fare so well with her lower teeth knocked out. I always admired my dad for remaining calm and unflappable during those times. His ability to cope gave me hope when my own children learned to drive. I felt that if my dad could survive the fear, panic, and frustration, perhaps I, who came from his stock, could do the same.

My dad’s story became my survival guide, and I clung to his experience with all the hope that I could muster for more quiet times.

A saying I discovered recently summarizes how our stories offer hope like my dad’s tales of his children’s driving escapades became my mantra as a parent of teen drivers.

One day you will tell your story of how you’ve overcome what you’re going through now, and it will become part of someone else’s survival guide.

This reminds me of 2 Corinthians 1:4 which says, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” God does not waste our pain or sorrow but carefully gifts our stories to others so that they can learn from the ways that God enabled us to triumph over our trials.

God also uses this method when He tells epic stories of men and women of gigantic faith in the Bible who inspire us to focus on the Lord in our own trials and to glean wisdom and faith from His Word. Our Bible heroes and heroines offer hope to us as they conquer enormous enemies, fight courageously in death-defying battles, and wait poignantly for decades for God’s promises to be fulfilled.

God gave us their stories for us to have an example to follow. It says in Romans 15:4 “for whatsoever things were written, aforetime were written for our learning that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” That’s why God put these divine dramas in His Bible – to give us hope, to give us patience and comfort, and to give us a way out of our valleys.

For example, David and Goliath is an incredible story where David teaches me to completely eradicate my enemy (the devil) by using God as my rock. Esther teaches me what to wear to a crisis. Ruth is a manual for helping a friend through grief, and Abigail teaches us how to diffuse anger in ten simple steps.

I hear the gears in that old Ford Falcon, sometimes grinding under the hands of an awkward teen or perhaps jolting to a stalling stop as he forgot to let in the clutch. And I realize that the Lord uses both biblical narratives and stories from my family, church, and friends, to send His truths into my heart.

Find a story in a Christian’s life, either current or biblical, that can become your survival guide. Listen carefully as they relate their David and Goliath tale and leave with a fresh vision of how God works through others’ stories to help you on your journey of faith!

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Marlene Houk is a regular contributor to Blue Ridge Christain News. Her passion is to delve deeply into the truths of Bible women and to discuss those in Bible Studies called Backstage Pass to Bible Women. She and her husband discover joy, nurture, and challenge in their church. Her contact is marlenehouk@bellsouth.net.

You can purchase her book, Hidden in a List: secrets from Bible women, on Amazon HERE.

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