This article was originally published by The Mennonite

The gift of stories

Jodi H. Beyeler is the director of communications at Goshen (Ind.) College. This reflection was first published on, where you can read more devotions and subscribe to receive them in your inbox each weekday during Lent.

Scripture: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 (NRSV)

My four-year-old, Arthur, LOVES stories. Every night before bed, he says, “Mama, will you read me a story?” After we read a few books and he is snuggled into bed, he wants me to tell him my own stories, so I do. It is a magical time together as we go on all sorts of adventures, but I also know it is a formative time.

Stories are how we make sense of this crazy world: what has been, what is and what may come. Stories are how we open ourselves to new possibilities. Stories are how we face our fears.

And yet, it is important to remember: stories are not all of equal value and there are many from which we can choose to follow, to make our own.

In today’s Scripture, God offers Abram a different story to tell. Instead of living in fear, worry and darkness, God reveals light and love to Abram: the promise of neverending descendants. In his covenant with him, God reframes Abram’s understanding of himself and his future.

This is the gift God offers us as well.

What stories do you tell yourself and others about the world we live in? How are you opening yourself to the ways God wants to reframe these stories? Are you choosing the story of light and love?

Scripture: Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18 (NRSV)

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

2But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “You have given me no offspring, and so a slave born in my house is to be my heir.” 4But the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; no one but your very own issue shall be your heir.” 5He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

7Then he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess.” 8But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” 9He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” 10He brought him all these and cut them in two, laying each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. 11And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.

12As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram, and a deep and terrifying darkness descended upon him.

17When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. 18On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates..”


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