Lorri Dudley

Be moved. Be changed. Love because you are loved.

Tag: Apostle Paul

Silhouette of man and woman

Would You Want to Be a Character in a Romance Novel?

Silhouette of man and woman

We might relish the thrill of the hero and heroine’s gazes holding a tad longer than appropriate, the quickening of pulse as their fingers brush, or the intimacy of their mingling breath as a loose strand of hair is tucked behind an ear. We might sigh with longing at those romantic moments, but my answer is a firm, no, thank you. Granted, I may have a different perspective as a writer. I spend hours creating emotionally traumatic circumstances to force my heroine and hero to endure. When they think it can’t get worse, another peril presents itself.

In The Sugar Baron’s Ring which released this week, the hero, Bradlee, must return to England with his research in time to face the dons and pass his final exams, because his father is under the presumption Bradlee has already graduated. However, a drunken captain runs the passenger ship aground on a reef. When Bradlee stops to help a man, he loses his spot in the lifeboat. The vessel, then, breaks apart, and before he plummets into the dark, swirling water, a man yells, “Shark!” And that’s just the first chapter.

If writers aren’t spiteful, ruthless people, why do we need to torture our heroes and heroines? Holding a reader’s interest isn’t the only reason. We torment our main characters because, through their struggles, readers fall in love with the redemptive story. When the black moment hits and all is lost, readers experience how hope prevails.

We see similar suffering-to-redemption examples from the Bible. Naomi, in the book of Ruth, relocates to a foreign land due to a famine, her sons marry outside of their religion, and then Naomi’s husband dies. When it seems it can’t get worse, Naomi’s sons die. Let’s look at Joseph. His jealous brothers throw him into a pit and then sell him as a slave to passing traders. Joseph works hard and tries to make the best of a bad situation, but then he’s accused of a crime he didn’t commit, thrown into jail, and forgotten. And then, there was the Apostle Paul, he was arrested for being a Christ-follower, but during his transportation to Rome to stand trial, a storm sinks the ship. He helps the crew and captives swim to the island of Malta and build a fire, wherein another almost comical stroke of bad luck, a snake bites Paul’s hand as he’s warming them.

snake with mouth open

If we didn’t know the ending, we’d think God had it out for Naomi, Joseph, and Paul. In our own lives, when things take a turn for the worst, we may wonder if God is punishing us. However, we must remember the full story. Because of those trials, Naomi’s joy was redeemed through her daughter-in-law, Ruth, and she became a grandmother in the lineage of Jesus. Joseph became Pharaoh’s righthand man and saved his family from starving to death. Paul had an opportunity to heal and witness to many of the Malta islanders.

In our black moments, we may cry out to God and feel like it falls on deaf ears, but don’t give up hope, because hope hasn’t given up on you. In those bleak times, we must remember the redemption story, not the ones from fiction novels, but from history, where Jesus faced his darkest moment on the cross and took our sins upon him so that we may have life and live it to the full.

Or as I call it, happily-ever-after.

Don’t miss a post! Sign up for my weekly blog by clicking here: Lorri’s Blog

woman frustrated by tech

Becoming an Overcomer and Not a Casualty

You know you’re under a book deadline when…

  • You’ve moved a pillow and blanket to your office.
  • Your plants are wilted and begging for water.
  • Your kids are eating cereal for breakfast—and supper.
  • Your husband’s putting spray-can whipped cream in his coffee because we ran out of creamer four days ago.

It may be comical, but I’m grateful to my family for their sacrifices so I could hit my deadline. I hit the send button at 8 pm on Friday the day it was due.

Finishing isn’t easy. It takes grit, endurance, and persistence.

There are times when the finish line looks out of reach. It’s when the self-doubts plague us, and everything becomes hard. When things that are supposed to make your life easier, decide to test your endurance.

There is nothing that tests your patience like the labyrinth of phone system prompts. They are meant to direct to the proper department but always end up re-routing you back to the beginning. The poor ladies in my office quickly leave for their lunch breaks when I start screaming into the phone: “Operator… Customer Service… Representative… Help… Let me talk to a human, please!”

Man yelling at phone

I love technology. I wouldn’t be able to be a writer if it weren’t for computers, spellcheck, and grammar check. Sometimes, however, I feel like technology likes to mess with me. It taunts me when things that have always worked suddenly give an error message or decide to no longer show up. It seems to usually happen when I’m in a rush and need something quickly.

As isolated events, these little things aren’t a big deal, but when they compound piling up on top of one another, to the point, you’re so distracted by all the small technical issues you forget what you were trying to do in the first place. Frustration rises until it’s teeming over the brink ready to spill out your eyeballs, or even worse, explode from your lips.

How do we keep from letting our frustrations get the best of us? How do we keep from throwing up our hands and walking away when it feels like everything is conspiring against us? How do we become an overcomer and not a casualty?

“I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

Paul understood what it was like to have obstacles stacked against him. He’d been arrested for preaching about Jesus and thrown into jail for several years while the Jewish and Roman leaders decided who had jurisdiction. Eventually, Paul was shipped off to Rome, but on the way there, a huge storm kicked up, and he became shipwrecked near the island of Malta. If all that wasn’t enough, after swimming to shore and lighting a fire to stay warm, a poisonous snake jumps out and bites Paul’s hand.

Coral snake

Paul, however, shook off the snake and eventually continued onto Rome, where in Acts 28 it says, “He [Paul] proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!”

I can hear the satisfaction in Paul’s words in 2 Timothy when he says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness… and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” Paul persevered through trials that make my issues with tech and phone auto attendants seem like eating cake in the park. He’d be the first to tell me to shake off the snake, stay strong in weakness because God has a plan, and to focus on the importance of finishing the race.

We might run out of energy, strength, confidence, but we will never run out of God.

Don’t miss a post! Sign up for my weekly blog by clicking here: Lorri’s Blog.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén