For a while, almost every day Amy would ask me to tell her the forever story — a story that puts her in the context of God’s whole world and all of history and eternity. She was disappointed that I didn’t write her a story card for her birthday, so I wanted to be sure to do one for Christmas. Today it occurred to me to try writing down the forever story. Here is the first draft — I’ll let it sit for a day or two and maybe tweak some parts, before I put it in a book for her.
In the beginning, before God said a word, before he made a thing, he saw and knew you, and held you in his heart.
God spoke and everything came into being and took shape: trees and strawberries and flowers and all plants; cats and dogs and deer and elephants and all animals; ponds and lakes and streams, hills and valleys and forests and plains; and people.
God established and chose one family, which grew into a people and a nation, to be his own people. He told the parents of this people, Abraham and Sarah, that through them, the whole world would be blessed.
In the fullness of time, their great-great-great-great – how many greats, I don’t know – child was born: Jesus. Prophet, priest, and king, son of God and son of Man, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Before he came to earth, while he walked among us, and after he rose again and returned to his father, Jesus knew you; he sees and knows you now, and is with you always.
Your dad and I were born, and grew older. We drew pictures and played on swings and went to school and read books and made friends.
Older still, we met in college, and got married.
Older still, we discovered that we were growing a baby – you – knit together by God. On November 19, 2006, a Sunday, around 5pm, you came into the outside world, strong and whole.
You grew older. You drew pictures and played on swings and went to school and read books and made friends.
God was with you, providing for you, sustaining you, guiding your life and growth. You were baptized into his family on June 24, 2007.
On November 25, 2012, you held out your hands to receive the bread of the sacrament, that Jesus said is his body, broken for you. You took the cup, the new covenant in his blood.
God looks, and sees you years from now. He already knows what next year will be like; how homeschooling will be, what fun times you will have with family and friends, what wonderful things you will make and do and enjoy by yourself, what challenges and difficulties you will go through.
He looks, and sees, years upon years. Your friends. Where you will live. What you will do. Maybe you will have a boyfriend named Charlie. Maybe he will play football. Maybe you’ll move to the Netherlands, or Italy, or North Carolina. Maybe you will take saxophone lessons. Maybe you will teach biology. Maybe you will have five children named Jenny and Lulu and Clara and Bob and Howard. Maybe you will dance on a big stage. Maybe you will be a Congresswoman. God knows.
God looks, and sees the day you will die. He will gather you up and carry you away, to be with him forever in the new heavens and the new earth, where there will be no more tears, but only and always peace and great joy.