I always felt like my conversion story was boring. I was 25. I’d been raised with plenty of information about God and Jesus and heaven and hell. After a few major steps of disobedience, my guilt overwhelmed me and I ran from God for about seven years. Then, standing in a church in Omaha, God suddenly tapped me on the shoulder and showed me a slideshow in my mind of everything I was and everything I would ever be if I kept on the same path.
I wasn’t literally blinded by the light of Jesus. I heard no audible voice from heaven. I didn’t fall on my face and weep. It wasn’t dramatic, I hadn’t hit rock bottom, I wasn’t on the edge of disaster. I was merely a sinner–the worst of them all–headed down a path of miserable disobedience and an ending of eternal death. Yawn. Boring. It doesn’t seem worth telling, really.
But it is. You know how I know? Because it’s Hagar’s story too. And God thought it was worth telling.
Genesis 16. Sarai’s decided to take it upon herself to fulfill God’s promise. She has Hagar sleep with Abraham and, as these things tend to go, Hagar gets pregnant with Ishmael. Then there’s all sorts of girl issues going on, where Hagar resents Sarai and Sarai mistreats Hagar and it’s drama. Hagar runs away.
Then an angel suddenly appears to Hagar and says, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
Now, every time I read that I get at least two songs stuck in my head and remember a short story from my entry-level creative writing class. But this here, this one sentence, is what God asks all of us. He reminds us who we are (Hagar), he reminds us of our position in this world (Sarai’s servant), he reminds us where we’ve come from and where we’re going. He did the exact same thing to me.
He showed me where I’ve come from, all those false beliefs and bad decisions. He showed me where I was going if I kept ignoring him and heading down the same path.
Hagar listened. She received a blessing and returned to Sarai as instructed. Her story is worth telling. And my story, boring as it may seem, is worth telling.
What’s your story? Do you ever feel like your story isn’t worth telling? Where have you come from? And, perhaps most importantly, where are you going?