Did you play dress-up as a kid? Pretend you were the mommy and your dolls were your children? Were you a fashion model? A nurse? Or maybe you wanted to be GI Joe or Superman or the Lone Ranger (really showing my age there).
I always played teacher in a multi-storied school house otherwise known as the backyard oak tree. I would sit on a branch and pretend to teach the things I’d learned during the day to my “kids.” I’d come up with great scenarios of this one being naughty or that one earning every possible gold star.
As authors, we do the same thing. In a way, we are pretending to be God. We create our story worlds and all the characters to populate it. We know the hearts of all our characters because we created them. We know how each character will react to the other based on the backstories we wrote for them, the psychological make-up we endowed them with, the situations we put them in. Knowing what we know about character A, and knowing what we know about character B, we can see their future together and know precisely how they will respond to each other. Or at least, that’s the general idea.
Every author I know loves the characters they bring to life. Even the bad guys. We pour our blood and sweat into these beings, so it’s hard not to love them. We want to spend time with them. We think of them virtually every waking moment–and our goal is for our readers to react the same way.
But we’re smart enough to know we aren’t God. What we do on a small scale, with all our errors, miscalculations, and misunderstandings of the human psyche, God does in massive, scaleless proportion, error-free, calculated to perfection, and in total understanding of those He created. He knows the DNA of every single living thing. He knows the history, thought, and emotion of every single person for generations back. Given that information and more, He knows exactly what will happen when person A meets person B.
That people don’t realize this always saddens me. They close the covers on God as if He doesn’t exist outside of His book. Or they see Him as some tiny being they can put inside a box and clamp a lid over it while they go on with their lives. If He’s in a box, He can’t see, right? Or they compartmentalize their lives–Sunday is for God, and when that day passes, He disappears and isn’t aware of their actions until the following Sunday. Then He patiently waits for them to decide whether they have anything to confess to Him. Because, after all, He doesn’t know what’s going on if no one tells Him, right?
They have no concept of how huge God is.
It’s hard to know how large the forest is when you’re in the middle of it. Hard to have an idea how large the universe is when you can’t see beyond the moon. And hard to conceive how immense God is when you can’t imagine that in Him we live and move and have our very being–He’s so immense, we can’t see Him. So much easier for some to be content with their own tree, their own Earth, and their own ego-centric selves.
Fortunately for us, our conception doesn’t change who He is. He is our creator, larger than we can imagine, with thoughts higher than we’re capable of perceiving. He not only sees our actions, He sees our hearts. There are no secrets from Him.
He searches our hearts. He knows our hearts, just like we know what’s at the heart of the characters we create. And He wants to spend time with us, just as we enjoy spending time with our characters.
He knows our hearts, every shadow, every sin, every evil intent, yet still He wants a relationship with us. He knows our hearts, yet still He wants fellowship with us.
He knows our hearts, yet still He loves us.
This is a really great post. I a little awed by how much I’ve learned about my relationship with God by comparing it to my relationship with my characters.
Isn’t that the truth? And to think it only scratches the surface!
LOVE this analogy. So true – needed the reminder too 🙂
I did too. Beth Moore used the quote in her *Children of the Day,* but she said, “‘He who searches our hearts’ knows their shadows and seeks our fellowship.”
It struck me as so amazing that He who searches our hearts and knows their shadows would want anything to do with me, so I switched “and” to “yet still.” You know how I play with words. 😀
Such a great post and analogy, Linda!
High praise from the Word Penner! (I’m still looking for a hook for you. 😉 )