DSCN0923The basis of a story is conflict and the transformation of a character through it.  Lane vs. Red Rock; farmer vs. drought; angry mama cow vs. elusive cowboy.

An old cowboy walked into the diner with a noticeable limp one morning after checking his cows.  His buddy asked him the common question: “How’d you hurt yourself?”  The old cowboy responded.  “I was feeding cows this morning in one of my lower pens when a young bull came at me like a runaway locomotive!”

“Is that how you hurt yourself?” his buddy asked.

“Nope.  I dodged as he slipped right before he hit me.  So he came at me again.  Same thing happened.  He slipped right before he got me.  A third time he ran at me and I got around him as he slipped by.  Then I jumped over the fence and landed on my hip.”

“I can’t believe that”, said his buddy.  “If I was in your shoes I would have soiled myself in fear” he said with a laugh.

To which the old cowboy responded: “What do you think he kept slipping in?”

Conflict and Transformation make great stories.  Brian, in Hatchet, has lived a sheltered life and, after being taken, is now forced to survive a in the harsh Canadian woods.  Buck, in Call of the Wild, was a house dog in California and, after being taken, is forced to adapt to a sled dogs life during the Alaskan Gold Rush.  Or Willy, in Stone Fox, who decides to enter a sled dog race to pay back the taxes on his family land.  They all lived life on an arrow.  Arrow’s denote movement and direction.  Arrow’s show progress and advancement.  There is nothing more exciting in the Biblical Story, than a narrative of Conflict and Transformation, of movement and direction, and of “being taken”…taken by God.  If you were to illustrate “being taken”, you would need to include an arrow.  Look at some of the arrows, the stories of being taken in scripture:

  • Adam was taken by God and put in the Garden to work it.
  • Abram was taken from Ur where he was a face in the multitudes, to Canaan where he would become the father of a multitude of nations.
  • Joseph was taken from favored son to Midianite slave to Pharaoh’s servant; thenEgyptian prisoner, to high ranking public official, to his familial protector.  He was taken on a ride.
  • Gideon was taken from cowardly farmer to charismatic leader.
  • God took David from Shepherd to King
  • God took Elisha from plowboy to prophet.
  • God took Paul from chief of sinners to chief of Church planting; Peter from loudmouth fisherman to loudmouth preacher.

And how many other stories could be jotted down from scripture.  Stories where God takes someone on a journey, to a place far beyond what their dull, short-sighted minds could have every imagined on their own.  For the next few weeks, I want to take a look at the “Taken” stories of the Bible, where God does incredible things through ordinary people in routine situations.  I do this because I too am asking “where is God ‘taking’ me?, where does His arrow now point me?”

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