“So, Samson died too?”
The question hung in the air as we read a chapter in our new Bible storybook. “Well, yes,” I said, glad for the author’s intro that explained even heroes aren’t perfect. Flawed, foolish Samson died alongside his enemies. Earlier in the collection of stories told by Kevin DeYoung, the children of Israel made their own idol of gold to replace the one true God. Toward the middle, King David sinned grievously. Near the end, people desperately in need of a savior crucified the man who came to save them.
DeYoung doesn’t pull any punches or leave out the difficult stories. God’s people were and are far from perfect. Sharing their messiness is one of the trickier parts of reading Bible stories with my children. But that may be because I’ve been more focused on explaining their sin than extolling God’s power and willingness to save.
I recently attended a conference that featured seven Old Testament salvation stories. The teachers used these biblical examples of rescue to illustrate how God has always been in the saving business, even before the spiritual concept of salvation was physically realized in the person of Jesus Christ.
Once I started thinking about God’s history of saving people, I couldn’t unsee it through Scripture. And it’s a helpful thread to pull when talking about the Bible with my daughters or reconsidering familiar stories for myself.
God rescued people who cried out to him and people who didn’t know they needed a savior; people who seem deserving and those who didn’t. And throughout a lifetime, don’t we all play each of those parts?
I have as many Samson moments as Ruth ones, some days more. God’s power to save is unchanged no matter which version of a person shows up—Moses, willing or defiant; Paul, murderous or jailed for the sake of the gospel.
DeYoung’s storybook is part of a recent movement to tell the whole story of Scripture, pointing to Christ throughout. (In fact, the collection is called “The Biggest Story Bible Storybook.”) At a time when Barna found 73% of American parents are concerned about their children’s spiritual development, it strikes me that telling the whole story, good and bad, with a focus on God’s rescue, is a step in the right direction toward a fully formed faith, for them and for me.
Meredith Day Flynn is a wife and mother of two living in Springfield. She writes on the intersection of faith, family, and current culture.