Donna McKinney’s husband was sick for a long time and she prayed tirelessly for him to recover. But one morning in January 2015, it was all over. He was gone. “There is nothing more we can do,” the rescue captain said. Donna’s story is no hero story. While there are “villains,” you would be hard-pressed to find a valiant resolution typical of superhero sagas.
“My story is not the story that I would have necessarily chosen to write,” Donna admits. “But this is also part of my story … the morning after he died, I woke up and I got out of bed and I put one foot in front of the other.” Life for Donna was “blown sideways” in an instant, but God held her in the worst of days. Now, she can say that her life “can only be framed … by talking about … God’s faithfulness.”
Donna’s story brings great encouragement for us at Salem. She notes that, “all kinds of stories are important – the good stories, the bad stories.” Some of us have hero stories, while others of us have more painful narratives. In the Old Testament, we see God liberate His people in a heroic exodus. In the New Testament, the Gospels record the torture that Jesus endured for the salvation of many. In the end, the Bible is full of good and bad stories. Together they form one “great big story,” Donna explains. “Within that big, overarching story, there are so many … stories that tell little pieces … of that process [of restoration] in our lives …. It makes it easier to understand.”
“Stories are vehicles to glorify God and make disciples.”
Donna’s story also provides a challenge for us at Salem. Stories are vehicles to glorify God and make disciples. They also “help all of us see that God is for us in ways way bigger than we can even imagine.” That’s one reason God had the biblical authors record narratives displaying His unchanging character. The parting of the Red Sea and the bewilderment of Jesus’s empty tomb – narratives like these provide evidence of who God is and continues to be. We too should fearlessly share stories of God at work. That could take place in conversation with a friend, or even by sharing your story with Salem’s Story Team. “Few of us would feel qualified to preach a sermon,” Donna reasons, “but we can tell a story about what God has done for us. And that can be its own kind of sermon.”
This story first appeared in Salem’s October 2018 Update. Tap here to get the October Update!