We all have stories about our lives that we want to share. We need to brag about our successes and to pour out in anguish our sorrows. I have a niece who has been broken. She got hooked on methamphetamine when two of her daughters were very young. Her mother, father, and sisters were heartbroken. She was beyond rescue. For the sake of her children they organized an intervention. It was a powerful and frightening experience. Our pleas for her to change her behavior were rejected and she was told that her children would be taken from her. That night, after she walked away from her family, she attempted suicide. Her life was saved after her brother-in-law broke into her house and she agreed to go into rehab. Julia survived but only with God's help. This young woman was lost but now is found. This summer, she, her husband who is also a recovering addict, and four of their six children spent a week with us. Julia and her family are a new creation in Christ. They have an amazing story to tell.
“Holy, Holy, Holy,…God in three persons, Blessed Trinity…” We have a God who can share in our joys and sorrows because God as the Trinity Family understands and experiences joy and sorrow. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the original family who wrote and created the original Story; their Story is why we have stories. Remember, we are made in their image. “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…” Genesis 1:26.
When I lead bible studies with high school kids, I love to ask them what God’s first heartache was. Of course, they ask, “Do you mean what was the first sin?” Yes, that’s exactly what I mean. Their response, always, “Adam and Eve and the apple?” Then we get to really stretch our thinking and try to see through God’s eyes.
“In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.” Here we have the first three beads on every 29:11 Story we create: purple for God, blue for the Heavens, and then, green for the Earth. But listen to the order of the creation; the Heavens were created first. The Blessed Trinity Family's first heartbreak caused by the creation’s first sin happened with the creation of the Heavens - the first holy war with some of the most beautiful of their first creations, the angels occurred:
“Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon … [and] ...war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back…and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” Revelation 12:3-9
Isaiah hints at God’s heartbreak over Satan's sin: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;… I will make myself like the Most High.' But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.” Isaiah 14: 12-15
Sin entered the new kingdom of the Heavens by way of betrayal in the heart of Satan, the old red dragon. What an anguish that was, and for us, still is. This is a chapter in God’s Story that has from the very beginning of time destroyed the perfect unity that the Blessed Trinity desired for us and all of their beautiful creation. Satan and his rebel angels had been hurled to the Earth so sin was soon to enter into the new kingdom of the Earth as well.
Every 29:11 Story we create contains red beads that represent the presence of sin and Satan in God’s Story. The first red Satan bead on the 29:11 Stories is located on the downward side of the 29:11 Stories that illustrates the Old Testament.This represents the first sin experienced by humanity when the kingdom of the Earth is first brought into "very good" completion. In the Garden of Eden sin enters by way of the red apple, Satan, and the serpent. It signal’s our fall into sin and away from God’s grace; it results in our being cast out from God’s presence where we were meant to dwell.
One of the most puzzling but important thing to understand about God’s Perfect Story is that sin was foreseen, foreknown, and allowed by God to happen.The Holy Family of God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit knew before the creation was made that sin would enter and pervade but would in the perfection of time be defeated. The corresponding red Satan bead on the upward side that illustrates the New Testament is in the last sequence of beads that represents the Second Coming. This red bead occurs before the green new Earth, the blue new Heaven, and the last purple bead, God.This is finally the time for Satan and sin to be destroyed and thrown into the Lake of Fire. Listen carefully to how that defeat occurs:
“Now have come the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God,
and the authority of his Messiah.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who accuses them before our God day and night,
has been hurled down.
They triumphed over him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony…” Rev. 12: 10-11
The following question is so important: how has the accuser, the old red dragon, Satan, been defeated? By the blood of the Lamb... AND by the word of their testimony. But who are “they”? “They” are us - the body of believers, the great cloud of witnesses, the bride of Christ - who have come to God one by one over time and who are waiting for the Second Coming. See how critically important we are to God? To the Blessed Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit? The Family of God redeems and adopts us and allows us to actually go into battle with them against sin and Satan. As new sons and daughters of God, we must defeat the sin and temptation that resides in each of us. Only then can we share in their glory and enter into a new perfect world free of sin.
And on each 29:11 Story, in between the purple, blue, green, and red beads, are all the other colored beads, all the people and events that make up humanity’s stories that are a part of God’s Perfect Story. My niece is part of this perfect story...