Let Jesus be the author of your story
This is Day 31 of my 40 day Lenten Blog.
One criticism my children's fantasy novel Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity has received is that it focuses too much on suffering and death. The young hero, Peter Puckett--a ten year old boy--has already lost his father to the war, his grandfather to dementia, and his mother is dying of cancer when the story begins. He prays to God to save his mother and God sends him on a quest through the fantastic realm of Evermore.
Yes there is a lot of death in the story and it is not always happy. But then again, neither is real life. In fact no one's story is going to have a happy ending, because every single one of our stories end in death. We cannot shield our children from suffering and death. That is especially obvious during this pandemic. We have to face it. We have to explain to them that suffering is going to occur and in the end we are all going to die.
The story of Christ is the most tragic of all. Jesus is the king of all creation who came down to Earth, took on human form and was tortured, mocked, humiliated and nailed to a cross where He hung until He died a horrific death. And we did that to Him. His own creatures, the ones He came to save, did that to Him. Jesus suffered greatly and He promised His followers would suffer as well. He told us that the world would hate us, because we are His. But then He told us to take heart, because He had overcome the world.
That is the point of the book and it is a lesson that adults as well as children need to understand. Jesus promised suffering, but He also promised that if we believe in Him our tragic stories will have a happy ending. Yes, death is a real part of this world, but Jesus has overcome the world. If we trust in Him we will rise again. We will live with Him and His Father and His mother and all of the angels and saints in Heaven for eternity. There He will wipe away every tear.
We cannot shield our children from the realities of suffering and death and so we should not attempt to do so. If we try to pretend suffering is not real, when our children finally get hit with reality they will stop trusting us. More importantly, they will stop trusting Jesus. Instead, we must explain to them that just when life seems to be at its darkest, our Lord will save us if we believe that He will. My book about Peter Puckett has a happy ending, although it appears that the story is going to end in tragedy. Our personal stories will have happy endings, too, as long as we allow Jesus to be the author.
Lord, I know that I must suffer in this life and sometimes it looks as though my story will end in tragedy. If I am allowed to write it on our own it most certainly will. Take over the story of my life Lord, so that just when it seems it will end in tragedy, it will miraculously have a happy ending. Amen.
The beautiful illustration above--of Peter Puckett and his guardian angel--was drawn by the immensely talented Amy Lew Alexander.
R.C. VanLandingham is the author of the Christian fantasy novel Peter Puckett & The Amulet of Eternity. He lives in Florida with his beautiful wife and three wonderful boys.