The Plot Thickens
If only we could plan our lives as easily as constructing a plot graph for a story. I had a discussion with a friend about prayer the other day and she said prayer is a process, not just a one off event. Pray=result. Done! Instead, she suggested this equation:
She said we begin with a promise. God has given us many promises in our lives and we believe them. A big problem comes along and we call out to God. We wait. More problems come along. It looks worse than it did before, often for months or years. We give up and lose faith at a moment of intense crisis. We lose heart and try to figure things out, forget God and try to force a resolution.
If we were able to write the plot for our own life story, we would begin with the exposition, describing the setting and background to our character. Then, we would give ourselves a few challenges, conflicts and problems to overcome and create a satisfying resolution. A very neat, tidy process.
I’m sure we would be easier on ourselves than our fictional characters. In fiction, we can create the most amazing scenarios. However, in real life, our problems and conflicts defy imagination and can take us to the edge of despair and sanity. Sometimes, we are not even the author of the problems that come our way.
Creating a plot and completing a book are processes. We plot, we sketch out details, begin to write and develop the ideas. We reach the end of the first draft with a sigh of satisfaction, only to enter the next phase-editing, rewriting and reworking, which takes longer than writing the first draft. The manuscript then goes through many more conflicts before reaching the climax when we scream, ‘I can’t do this anymore!’
This is where we often give up, as writers and in life generally.
‘It’s too hard.’
‘It’s taking too long.’
‘I can’t even remember why I thought this was a good idea.’
‘God gave me the inspiration to write but the cost is too great.’
If we quit right there and put the manuscript away in a box, the process will not be complete. The resolution will not be satisfying.
Isn’t this how we deal with some things in life? Along come problems, conflicts and crises and we wonder what is going on. If we quit or avoid the process, we will not feel satisfied. In the short term we may feel relief from the pain, however, bitterness, disappointment and hurt will be there under the surface.
In writing and life, we need to persevere in the process. This harks back to the old Creation, Fall, Redemption story in the Bible. God is the original author and he created a plot graph with a process. Our part is to trust in the process and to do the work required.
Provision or resolution comes when the plot is played out. Psalm 31:24 says, Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up. Expect God to get here soon.
Ah, the struggles of life and writing. It was never promised life would be easy, but the sweetest stories are those where the characters have lived through hardship and suffering and see the provision come.