When our storying team attended the Storying and EthnoArts Community of Practice, a gathering in Bangkok with representatives from nearly a dozen countries, we were expecting to gain professional knowledge about crafting Bible stories and network with others in this region. What we didn’t expect, however, was to personally encounter the power of God through a story and see it change our lives.
It was the first morning of the conference, and the devotion was simple drama telling the story of Job. A woman representing Job held pieces of paper in her hands with pictures of sheep, camels, possessions, and children drawn on each piece of paper. Some people chuckled when a man entered dramatically, doing a slightly comedic impersonation of Satan. But then, faces grew sober as he walked over to Job, inspecting his possessions. One by one, Satan took the pieces of paper from Job’s trembling hands. He held each piece of paper high and slowly tore it, letting it drop to the ground. The sheep...rip. The camels...rip. The possessions… rip. And last of all, the children…
The sound of tearing paper broke the silence, and one team member felt real pain and tears began to fall. She and her husband lost their newborn son to illness last year, only nine days after giving birth.
We watched the drama, as the person acting for God turned his back to Job, seemingly deaf to Job’s cries and blind to his suffering. Job’s wife told him to curse God and die. His friends accused him of many sins. Job pled and called out to a God who, from his point of view, was looking the other way.
The drama unfolded, and ended with God turning back to restore to Job more than he had lost. We sat and watched, experiencing the power of God and his sovereign control over all our suffering, knowing he is not blind to our pain or deaf to our cries.
Two days later, a dear member of our team lost her unborn child due to a miscarriage. There in the hospital, she said, “You know, before I had to go through this, three times God spoke to me through the Bible about the story of Job. God gives and God takes away. Blessed be his name.”
We work to bring these stories to others, but God wants to use them in our lives as well. He is working among us, and giving us strength to bring his life-changing stories to the many ethnic groups of this country.