Zondervan gave me an opportunity to read and review The Heart of the Story by Randy Frazee. I am certainly glad they gave me this opportunity. Have you ever read scripture with a bit of driving coma? You know that way you arrive somewhere and suddenly realize, "I really was not aware of any moments driving here just now"? I often wish I had no understanding of scripture at all; I wish I did not know the ending of some of the stories. I wish I could read scripture through a different lens than I have grown accustom.
If you feel the same way The Heart of the Story will serve you well. Frazee sets the tone with the difference between the Upper Story (God's story above our here and now) and the Lower Story (the story we see unfold day after day in front of us). Randy writes in his introduction, "As a pastor, I have the privilege and responsibility to help people to understand the Bible...One of my greatest joys, however, is to see that 'aha!' moment when they learn that God's Upper Story in the Bible connects with their own Lower Story of going to work, caring for their families, and trying to live decent, honorable lives."
I am beginning a slow walk thru what will be my daughter's Bible adding commentary written to her. Below is what I intend to write on the inside flap, and I think it also serves as a great review for Frazee's book.
This is the story of a Father who has always anxiously awaited every opportunity to be with and near his children. It is the story of a Father who promises and protects his children even when they do not understand; even when they outright abandon him. It is a story of an outrageous love that will do crazy and drastic things. This love of a Father will do things you never thought possible or even necessary at times, but make no mistake, this Father's love is real. It is not a fairy tale or piece of nice fiction.
It is a Father's love that could not wait for his children to be created. It is a Father's love that was pained when his children turned away from him. It is a Father's love that always protected and shielded when it could. This is a Father's love that offers the greatest gift ever given to anyone.
My hope for you is that you will always know this Father to be near you. I hope you will know a love for you that is so tangible you could taste it. I hope you will always remember this love through your life as the one truest love that cannot be debated or shadowed. I hope you know this love and trust it even when it is hard to understand.
This hope of mine will require of you trust and risk; risking enough to trust in such an outrageous love.
This is a love for you nobody on earth will ever be able to match, including me, and I love you more than you will ever understand.
This is a large and long (eternal) story, but each piece will make a bit more sense if you remember the Upper story of a Father's outrageous love for you.