As we look through the stories of our lives we discover lessons in our experiences. The climactic and notable elements of our lives differ from person to person. Our life stories give illustrative examples, and lessons which come from our own base of knowledge and passions. Could it be that these same stories also give us examples which tell part of a greater story - the story of God? and that these stories individually illustrate small elements of the greater knowledge and passion of God?
Heilsgeschichte, or salvation history was a popular term of theological reference (particularly in the 50's) to the story of God as it is discovered in the history within scripture, but also in what has been referred to as HIStory: a traveling narrative of human history filled with the illustrations of the character of God and the working of His redemption.
If human history is filled with illustrations of God's character, then our individual stories, which make up those small elements of the greater human story may hold snapshots of HIStory. If this is true then we all have lessons about God etched into our own life stories.
Moses' story is perhaps a good place to start this pursuit of finding a micro heilsgeschichte. The key components of his story are peppered throughout his life from borth to death.
• Moses was born at a time when the Hebrew children were being slain by Pharaoh, yet he survived by his parents cunning and miracle.
• As a young man he was raised in the house of Pharaoh though he was a Jew.
• He later tried to help his people, the Jews. He killed an Egyptian and had to flee Egypt because of this.
• He spent years herding sheep, and later married the daughter of his boss.
• God met Moses in a burning bush which was not consumed, and called him to return to Egypt and deliver his people the Jews from the slavery of Pharaoh.
• He did as asked and God performed many miracles. The children of Israel were delivered by God through the leadership of Moses, and the stories of these miracles became the centerpiece of salvation history for the Jewish people.
• He suffered with a stubborn and disobedience people for over 40 years in the wilderness, and in the end did not enter the promised land himself.
This brief outline of key components of Moses' life story illustrates the variety of things which may make up our own stories, through it certainly does not exhaust the variety. From birth to death our own stories have elements, which may tell a small piece of HIStory just as Moses' life does.
Some of the things which may be influential elements include:
how and where we are born
how we are raised
our health, our sicknesses, our injuries
our intellectual capacity and learning
our passions and pursuits
our occupations, our service and our hobbies
moments of fortune or calamity
the words we speak, whether in a moment or repeatedly
actions of great bravery or cowardice
sins and bad habits
personal interactions with God
the means of our death
There is more we could consider, but these are some beginning points to write out our own story in search of finding God in our own history.
Of course, just like reading the Bible can be difficult reading our life story can be hard as well. Just as the Bible can be twisted to say what we want it to say our life stories can be twisted by our poor perspective to teach us lessons we were never meant to learn. We are too often spiritually myopic - too close to see truth.
This is no new thought. There are people who have taught this, and you can pursue it further. Keri Wyatt Kent writes about this, and teaches to hear God in our own life stories. Variations of this may be found in Psychology, and hopefully I will remember the rather complex text of the Fuller Theological Seminary professor who wrote a book about discovering God's Will bu charting your personal history, which I read about 20 years ago.