Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Message About Victory and Defeat - Insights From Struggles

I am over half way done with my sequel to Unlikely Friends, and in trouble.  While I had a general idea of where I wanted to go with the story, there were some massive holes in the plot and I had no idea how to plug them.

So, I wrote more clues, wedging myself even deeper into a literary corner. I took time off from writing to finish the painting I was working on for my wonderful massage therapist. I loved the painting, which is at the top of this blog, but no creative spark arced over the gap to illuminate a solution to my writing dilemma.

Hoping for insight, I went on a walk. I ran into a friend, Roxanne, who is a massage therapist. She has been very kind in advising me on issues with my frozen shoulder. She and her husband were walking their dogs. One is a Carolina Dog like my beloved, newly deceased Honeybun. They always stop and let me pet their dogs, and kiss the sweet face of Jenna who looks just like Honeybun. Anyway, I told them my plot problem and between the three of us, by the time we had finished the walk, it was SOLVED.

I have often had this dilemma. I write with a basic outline of where my story is going, but very quickly veer off course. I know something important is just within my grasp, but I never seem to actually grasp it until I am quite a ways into the manuscript. Usually, by the end of chapter one, my plans are out the window, the book takes over, and forces me to follow it. Bizarre. It happens with nearly every single book I have written. (The current book is #19.)

More often than not, by bouncing ideas off of friends, or sometimes even strangers, I chance upon the solution to my story problem. God often sends me the perfect plot while I am kayaking...but due to my frozen shoulder, I have curtailed kayaking. Sometimes, the plot arrives perfectly packaged in a dream. Each time, I realize with sudden clarity, "Of course! This is where I was being led from the beginning!"  I am only surprised how long it took me to realize it.

This is not unlike my journey of faith. The clues of what God is doing are scattered all along the way. So often, I recognize they are indeed clues about where He is taking me, but I don't see the final answer. I don't understand how they will all come together. It sometimes feels as though life is just a series of chance, chaotic, incomprehensible events. When things miraculously come together, then I say, "Ah ha! Now I get it!"

That's what Satan thought about Jesus hanging on the cross. He didn't see the plot. He didn't pay attention to the clues that are throughout scripture. He missed the Big Picture. And in the end, it was all perfectly orchestrated, perfectly planned, and the victory for God was dramatically sealed at the very moment the evil one was certain he was about to win. I love that dramatic high point of all history. Evil and Good clashing as Jesus is nailed to the cross, both  simultaneously embracing the event. One thought he had won it all but lost everything; the other knowing He had won it all and gained everything.

1 Corinthians 1:18 

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Chronicles 11:14 

But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and killed the Philistines. And the Lord saved them by a great victory.

1 Corinthians 15:55-57

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 2:15 

He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

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