Hope story by @Deenamadams
Hunting for Hope in Fiction is the third of seven in a series of posts I’m sharing over the next couple of months. These posts feature a condensed written version of the Facebook Live seven-day Hope Hunt I recorded in May.
If you prefer the more in depth video version, you can find it here. The video version also includes excerpts from two of my fiction manuscripts.
I’ve been an avid reader as long as I can remember, but once I became a Christ-follower and found Christian novels, oh my goodness, a new love formed.
Not only can I read a great story that whisks me away for a little while, I can enjoy stories with eternal purpose. Stories centered on God replete with redemption, forgiveness, Christ’s love and salvation. And yes, hope.
In my opinion, the term “Paper Missionaries” aptly applies to inspirational fiction authors who write for God’s glory.
Two years ago, God grew a desire in my heart to become one of those authors who shares His message by etching hope on broken hearts through novels. I’m excited about the potential to touch lives with hope-filled stories.
Some people may not understand why Christians write fiction books rather than nonfiction, thinking as believers we should be telling people the truth.
I say … Wasn’t Christ a storyteller?
As you read his interactions in the New Testament, you’ll see He gave illustrations and taught lessons through parables—Fiction stories based on aspects of the culture and relevant issues people faced in a manner they could understand.
Fiction is a means of sending a non-threatening message to someone who may balk over a sermon or an in your face nonfiction book, and can open a closed door for them to explore God further.
In a novel, no matter the genre, there are certain characteristics that must be present. One is the protagonist, a flawed character who goes on a quest to reach a goal and overcome her weakness by the conclusion of the novel. We call this character arc. She must grow and change throughout the story and accomplish something by the end she couldn’t at the beginning.
A hero usually comes into her life and supports her along the way.
Although she fights, runs from, and rejects him, the hero pursues and defends her until she realizes he loves her and she loves him.
And every story has an antagonist, or villain. That evil, horrible person who tries everything in their power to prevent the heroine from reaching her goal. He’ll lie, cheat, and steal. Anything necessary to trip her up.
The adversary doesn’t have to be a person. It can be her own faulty view of herself or even an external setting or event that prevents her from achieving the goal.
Check out this cool parallel to the Bible God showed me recently.
In God’s story, He also has characters—heroines—He calls the bride of Christ, His children. And His kids are flawed, each in need of taking a journey to overcome weakness and be changed. To be different individuals at the end of their story than at the beginning.
And the Bible’s hero is God.
The one who pursues the heroine, protects her, fights for her no matter how much she runs away. He loves her and saves her through the process of transformation and attaining the goal of eternal life.
But there’s an antagonist, Satan, who works relentlessly to prevent the heroine from experiencing the hero’s affection and accomplishing her ambition of following Christ.
He lies, cheats, and steals. He whispers, or shouts, in the heroine’s ear: You’re no good. No one will ever love you. You think God could accept someone like you after what you’ve done? You might as well abandon hope. He can’t use you.
Sadly, when the protagonist believes the antagonist’s lies, she bears the consequences, which can include what fiction writers label conflict, rising tension, plot twists, and the dark night moment. Pretty fitting for some of us in our walk with God, right?
But as we know, a major difference in a novel and the Bible is that God’s Word is completely true.
And the biblical story is not all about the heroine and her journey, but all about God. He is the main character AND the hero of His story. And He has already defeated the antagonist.
But you know what? Stories are complicated whether they’re our true stories while we live on this sinful earth, or fiction stories penned by faithful and persistent writers who don’t give up when they’re rejected over and over.
Before I started writing novels, I had no idea the time, research, prayer, hard work and finances involved. Not to mention extreme sacrifice, rejection, rewrites, edits, marketing, and more that authors go through to publish books. It’s overwhelming.
So, maybe thank an author today who has positively impacted your life.
There are several authors and books that have touched and challenged me over the years. I’ll mention a couple of my favorites.
Many more authors and stories have affected me, but I don’t have the time or space to list them all.
I hope you can see that fiction books can communicate God’s love, and the theme of redemption and hope, in a powerful way that affects people a church, pastor, or nonfiction book may never reach.
Also, I recommend the Facebook group Avid Readers of Christian Fiction to find lots of great suggestions on inspirational fiction books. This group has over 13,000 members, and you can ask for a book suggestion on any topic and get a ton of answers.
If you missed Janine Rosche’s post offering several recommendations on Christian Fiction books and how to find humor in the hard times, find it here.
Join the conversation and go hunting for hope in fiction. Can you recommend a Christian fiction book that might help others struggling with a particular life issue? Comment and share the title, author, and main theme.