Can you imagine as an author trying to write a fiction book where God is your character?
I find that writing fiction can often pose challenges, especially when one attempts to depict God. I mean really think about it. As an author if you write about God you are attempting on a two dimensional piece of paper, with a limited language, to depict a being who is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.
When I thought about how I might go about describing God in my series The Third Heaven, several key scriptures came to mind.
Revelation 4:1-8 In this scene we see God seated on a throne surrounded by marvels of both sight and sound.
Other scriptures that have guided me are Colossians 1:15, and John 14:9. From these scriptures I understand that Jesus is God in the flesh and when I see him, his acts his words I am able to grasp with my human mind what God is like.
I say this because sometimes I get criticized that I’ve made God “too human” in my writing. I personally find this funny on some levels since Jesus was both God and man. Nevertheless, I’ve always tried to show God as possessing these key three attributes, of being all powerful, all knowing and everywhere simultaneously. Yet wrapped within human flesh as depicted in the Bible. It’s been a challenge but based on the reviews. It would seem that for most readers I have pulled it off.
Now I’m at the beginning of the third book in the series and I’ve come to a portion of my story that confronts the age old question of where is God in suffering? It’s such an important question. Who causes suffering. Man? God? The Devil All three? To what degree is God responsible for suffering in the world?
I find myself reexamining scriptural passages that address such issues like the book of Job, Luke 13:1-5, Matthew 24:21-22, Revelation, Romans 9:14-23, Jeremiah 18:7-10, Hebrews 12: 6-11 Just a few key passages that to me touch on this important subject.
It’s easy in my mind to say that the thief (the devil) steal, kills, and destroys. But he’s allowed to do that by God. Let that sink in. God allows evil to be visited upon people. Both good and bad. He allows Jesus to be crucified by men. He allows Paul and Silas to be imprisoned and flogged for casting out a spirit. He allows the suffering of saints. Hebrews 11 is full of men who suffered because they believed in something (God) greater than themselves. He exacts judgement upon Satan, and man during the last days. Yes it’s righteous judgement.
There is too much here in the above scriptures to attempt to exegete them all here in this short blog post. I recognize that there’s a difference between chastening, trials, suffering for righteousness sake, and judgement.
Yet, let’s be blunt here. God allowed Joseph to endure what he endured, all for a greater cause, but nevertheless He allowed it. God’s love for us is such that he paternally looks after us. God uses all elements of our lives to steer us into conformity to the image of his son.
As I delve into phase three of this series I solicit your prayers as I tackle the issue of where God is during suffering. How he views it. We all see through a glass darkly, I ask for grace within what might amount to four hundred pages of fiction to give a but a small bit of candlelight to the subject.
As those of you who have read the latest book realize. Talus, one of the characters in the book has been imprisoned. His imprisonment, the crucifixion, and Jesus’ three days in the grave will tackle this heavy question. I approach this with fear and trembling and feel totally inadequate for the task but recognize with your prayerful support. God will guide my hand to write a work that honors him, and satisfies the readers.