A Christian Worldview of God, Day 10

Much like Stuart, I think the many facets of God can best be revealed through the life-changing power of His Word. Tell a story about how obedience to the will of God altered someone’s worldview and caused them to act in a way that they normally wouldn’t.

What makes a fantasy story–any story for that matter–great isn’t the bells & whistles, it’s the characters, their motivations and the events that challenge and change them. That’s what allows us, the reader, to identify with them.

Comment by Kameron — November 26, 2006 @ 7:23 pm

I think Kameron’s comment is key to understanding how to show God, especially in a story not of the speculative nature. Because I write fantasy, having God do the amazing to show who He is and what He cares about, is quite natural.

Not so in the contemporary short stories I’ve worked on. Showing God really boils down to showing how the characters behave who are His—what they struggle with, what they choose, how they let their relationship with and what THEY understand about God to influence their actions.

Even in my “metaphor” story I referred to the other day, I think the reader can completely miss the symbolic inferences and still come away with a clearer view of God because one character finds a way for the truth to come out and by implication for justice to win.

There are no “God did this” statements, but I think about God’s work in the world. He brings the rain, without announcing every time that it is from Him. He gives reminders—in His word, with the rainbow occasionally in the sky—but pretty much He leaves it up to us to figure out that He is still in charge of nature.

I think, in much the same way, the writer should show God working through characters in the story and let the reader figure it out without the obvious announcements. Will every reader recognized God’s hand? No, undoubtedly not. But I don’t think we convince anyone that God is involved in people’s lives by telling them so.

In fiction, too often God’s work is mistakenly seen as author manipulation, and the story looks weak rather than God looking strong. Consequently, I think it is essential that we show God as we know Him to be.

Does He speak through a wife’s counsel to her husband? through a remembered Bible verse? a message from the pulpit? advice from a friend? a distinct sense of peace, or of disquiet? Perhaps through a sequence of circumstances? Or personal time in God’s Word? an example from the life of a hero of the faith? or of a faithful friend?

Why, then, can’t our characters experience the same hand of God? Why can’t they wrestle, as we often do, with whether or not this is, in fact, from God and not from their own imagining?

In other words, it seems to me, showing God work in our stories should be pretty much like how we see Him work in our own lives and in the lives of the people around us. Some of those people miss what God does, close their ears to what He says. Others hear and ignore. Some question. Some step out in faith based on what they perceive God to tell them and … no earth-shattering events take place.

Not everyone is Job with the restored family and twice the wealth. Not everyone is Joseph, ultimately with the position of second in command to Pharoah. Or of Esther, Daniel, or Noah. Some are Jonah at the end of the book, not the middle. Some are Stephen. Some are King Saul. Some are Moses, refused admission into the promised land. Some are David, refused the job of building the temple.

Regardless of what the people chose to do with what God asked of them, He comes through as righteous or good, as powerful or loving, as having a greater purpose, an overarching plan. He shows His character through the lives of the people with whom He has to do.

May I learn to show Him as clearly in my fiction, in my life.

Published in: on November 28, 2006 at 1:21 pm  Comments Off on A Christian Worldview of God, Day 10  
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