The audience sat there in rapt attention as Christa read a selection from her book. As she shared the story of Willow's tortured journey, there wasn't a person in the room who wasn't captivated by the tale and wondering how it would end. That's how it is with good writing. It's not just words on a page. It become a compelling story that draws you in.
Images and characters come alive in your mind as the written word takes shape and comes to life. The author Stephen King, known for his horror stories, actually played with this idea back in 1989. In his book, “The Dark Half,” he tells of an author whose main protagonist actually comes to life and begins to haunt him. It is a great story that sends chills down your spine.
Although this was Christa's first published book of short stories, she said that she had been writing all her life. That made sense. You don't just sit down and write a book. The stories come from life experiences. The words have a life of their own and they take time to ferment. They grow inside of you like a baby coming to full term.
Faith is like that too. Right now I am reading the autobiography of Brother Andrew. It's titled, “God's Smuggler.” In the opening chapters he tells the story of how God worked in this Dutch-born son of a village blacksmith to catapult him into the heart of a mission to bring hope to those behind the Iron Curtain following World War II.
Andrew was looking for adventure. He set off for war. After a serious injury seemed to derail his life, God began to water the seeds of faith planted there by his mother and others he met along the way. The story unfolds as so many stories do. They begin with a word or two shared and then blossom in God's good timing.
Words are powerful. The Gospel of John tells us that the Word was with God in the beginning. When he spoke the Word began creating. All things were made through him. Then John says, at just the right time, God's time, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. As Christians we believe that's Jesus. Among his many names and titles, we call him the living Word of God.
The truth is that God has put his Word in our hearts. He calls us to live out that Word and to make it real. So when we live with truth, grace, love, forgiveness, compassion and peace, we bring God into every situation we enter. The Bible and its truths are no longer just words on a page. They become real through us and our interactions with others.
It can be scary like Christa's stories. It can also be a blessing. If we acknowledge God within us and let his Word shine through us, the world will become a little brighter and the darkness not as deep. So let your light shine. Let God's Word come alive through you and be a blessing.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly.