Lorri Dudley

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

Tag: Joseph

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.

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pregnant mom belly and little girl kissing it

Overcome and Adapt

Pregnant mom belly and little girl kissing it.

Men may want better to understand the closeness between a mother and newborn. As much as I love to tell childbirth stories, that’s not the part I found most inspiring.

I knew there had to be a creator as I watched my body grow during pregnancy. I wasn’t doing any of the work other than eating a bit more (okay, maybe a lot more). My hips and ribcage shifted of their own accord. My blood quantity increased. (The only New England winter that I wasn’t freezing was the one during which I was pregnant.) Once the baby was born, my milk supply altered to meet the baby’s needs. I didn’t have to do pushups or eat certain foods to get it to change. My body adapted of its own accord because God made it to change.

We are meant to overcome and adapt.

Not only did God forge women’s bodies to adapt for childbirth, but He’s also given us an amazing immune system. When we catch a cold, our glands swell up, our nose runs, and we’ll cough because our lymphatic and immune systems are warring against a virus. When we eat something spoiled and get food poisoning, we don’t have to tell our bodies what to do. It just starts purging. (I’ll spare everyone the descriptions on this one.)

We often forget that our bodies aren’t the only thing God created to adapt. He made us to adjust emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Paul says, in 1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.” We start as spiritual infants, but we are meant to feed on God’s word, grow, adapt, and become spiritual adults. What turns us into adults? Trials, tests, and temptations. Mature spiritual adults have proven they can overcome challenges and persevere.

Take the story of Joseph, for example. Joseph was an immature young man when he bragged to his brothers about his dream that they would bow down to him. His juvenile boast set off a chain reaction. 

barred window

He was thrown into a pit by his brothers, sold as a slave, accused of a crime he didn’t commit, thrown into jail, and then was forgotten. I can imagine Joseph waiting for his father to march through the door and shout, “Unhand my beloved son!” Little did Joseph know, his brothers faked his death. What devastation Joseph must have felt when he realized his father wasn’t coming.

Joseph had to overcome his disappointment, adapt to his new normal, and mature to a higher degree of spirituality before he could go from slave to Pharaoh’s trusted advisor with power second only to the Egyptian king. He got there because he persevered. God equipped Joseph to be able to acclimate to each situation, and in the end, he came out a stronger and more capable person.

Currently, we are all adapting to a new normal. Yes, it may stretch us, irritate us, weigh us down, but lean into God. Feed on His word. Absorb His strength. Spiritually grow because God has plans for you.

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