Can I tell you a story?
Posted on: 6th June 2022
Lauren Dale is a former CMS missionary who teaches and mentors students at St Andrew’s Hall. Here he shares about how God is working in the lives of people he has befriended in his local community.
One day as I was watering our front garden, I noticed a person walking with his greyhound.
“Nice dog!” I shouted across the street.
“Would you like to meet her?” Bryan* brought his greyhound across.
Being an avid greyhound owner myself, I soon introduced my own dog to these new friends. Over several walks together, the dogs sniffing the local trails, Bryan and I chatted.
Gradually we have shared more of our lives—stories of trauma, heartbreak, hopes and fears. Woven through it all have been the stories of Jesus. He listened carefully as I shared the story of the sinful woman anointing Jesus’ feet (Luke 7), one of my favourites. We considered the idea that Jesus challenges how we see people and turns our preconceived ideas upside down.
Another day I listened as Bryan confessed many of his woes.
“Can I tell you a story of hope about Jesus?” I said. I shared the story (from Luke 19) of how Jesus had sought out Zacchaeus and turned his life upside down.
Bryan is happy for me to pray for him in his struggles. Recently, after I prayed, he also prayed for me, and for my wife as her health declines. It was deeply moving to listen as he prayed, perhaps for the first time.
Lauren Dale oversees a Bible storytelling class at St Andrew’s Hall.
When our Muslim friends were celebrating their Eid, I took the opportunity to catch up with my friend Nabil*. Like Bryan, I also met Nabil when he walked past our place.
“Where are you off to?” I had asked after initial introductions.
He replied, “I’m off to greet my cousin. She’s having a baby boy and they’re calling him Yacoub (Jacob).”
“Do you know the story of Jacob?” I inquired.
“No, please tell me,” he replied.
I began the story of Jacob and this flowed into sharing Joseph’s story.
When we met up again, Nabil was keen to hear the rest of Joseph’s story. He had been reading the Qur’an and traditions about Joseph, which we agreed was a bit like looking through opaque glass. We agreed that the stories in the Torah (Old Testament) were clearer and fresher. We then discussed the story of Moses, and I stopped with Moses having killed an Egyptian and fleeing into the desert.
“But he’s a prophet, right?” Nabil asked.
“Well that depends on how you define prophet. For Muslim friends, all the patriarchs are prophets, whereas in the Torah and Injil (New Testament), it’s a different story!”
Often as our friends from Muslim backgrounds hear true stories from the Old and New Testaments (or the Torah and Injil, as they know them), these gradually supplant those they have inherited, and their worldview likewise shifts to point to the Messiah.
Nabil has a genuinely open heart, and he wants to explore the truth and see where it takes him. When he shared his struggle with getting a job, he appreciated my prayers, and we rejoiced together when he found work at last.
Jesus didn’t hesitate to use stories to challenge listeners and help them understand the Kingdom of God. May God help us to do likewise.
* Names changed for privacy reasons.
Pray for Lauren’s friends Bryan and Nabil, that God will continue to direct their conversations and open their hearts to know Jesus. Pray for opportunities to share God’s story of hope and redemption with people in your own life.