Sunday, January 2, 2022

The Year of Story

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

He sat quietly in the morning light, head bowed low like someone who had been made to understand he was not worth people’s time and attention. Nobody in the weary throng spoke to him. He was just one of hundreds who crowded the stuffy room of nations seeking refuge from war and terror.

But one person cared enough to stop and gently ask the question that makes the mute speak, the blind see, and the deaf hear.

What’s your story?

Without looking up, he withdrew a worn piece of paper from his pocket and offered it. Emblazoned across the top was the name of the international aid agency that had helped him leave his country.

This is my story. But I carry another one in my heart that no one wants to hear.

I want to hear it. Tell me.

At this, the man looked up, startled.

Hours later, as the warm evening sun softened the harshness of reality across the room, the two still sat. One talking, one listening. Both healing. 

Sharing stories does that.

When we share our story with a sympathetic ear, our hearts begin to heal. When we listen to someone else’s story, we help them heal. We carry each other’s stories with us and they become part of our own. Ultimately, they lead us to truth.

He who was the Way, the Truth, and the Life understood this. One day, Jesus encountered a man born blind. Everyone had an opinion about this man’s story, even Jesus’ disciples. As they conjectured about whether the man had been born blind because of his or his parents’ sin, Jesus corrected them and told them the man’s true story. The one no one wanted to hear. 

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world." After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing (John 9:3-7).

We are surrounded by stories. Every person you pass, every man, woman, or child you see on the news carries a story. 

The air buzzes with the noise of story guessers. Story judgers. 

Is this person worth my time? Do I want to be inconvenienced by his story?

The foolish disciples were not unlike the blind man, even as they walked alongside the Light of the World Himself. When we presume to know another’s story without pausing to listen, we most often get it terribly wrong. And to add insult to injury, we objectify people made in God’s image.

How many untold stories are intended to display the works of God if someone would pause to listen?

Jesus is a gentle, merciful teacher and He is patient with His blind disciples. Indeed, the man blind from birth was not the only one who gained sight that day by the pool of Siloam. Jesus led the way and showed His followers how to see, listen, and learn the truth.

The Light of the World has come. He is the Great Story Carrier, the One who always has time to listen. The One who tells us the true story about our lives: our joys, our sufferings, the things we can’t make sense of. The things others may misunderstand and misjudge.

At least five of Jesus’ disciples became true-story tellers themselves, contributing to what we now call the New Testament, including the account we just read.

Perhaps this new year the Lord is inviting you and me to walk alongside Him through the days and months ahead, noticing and listening to the stories around us. Maybe this year is an opportunity to become storyteller apprentices, looking to Him to help us see the true stories He is writing in each of us.

May you witness the works of God through story this year. The story no one wants to hear may just be the very one they need most.

Happy New Year, dear reader.


Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Audrey is the author of Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (Harvest House Publishers), an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available at favorite booksellers: BARNES & NOBLE , BOOKS A MILLION, AMAZON.

Photo by Brandi Redd on Unsplash


  1. Replies
    1. My pleasure, TB Scott. I look forward to hearing your story one day.

    2. Thank you. I'm touched by your words on story.

  2. Thanks you these wise words. I motivated to seek out the story, maybe even tell mine.

    1. That's wonderful to hear, Judy! Have a lovely new year.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and encouraging, Jeanne. Happy new year!

  4. I love aging in Christ because His touch is woven throughout the ups and downs of my personal stories. God has never let me down but He sure has scared me a few times.

    Looking back, the seemingly lose ends more and more fit into the Master's plan for my life.

    Now, more than ever, we need to share stories.

    1. I live in a place where people sit for lifetimes and patiently weave rugs. They are surrounded by baskets of frazzled silk thread bundles, and they turn them into beautiful tapestries. Always amazes me. I'm sure your tapestry is breathtaking. Happy new year!