Lorri Dudley

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

Tag: Struggle

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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Struggle vs. surrender

The Struggle is Real

Struggle vs. surrender words

With my second book, The Merchant’s Yield, launching, I feel like a mother sending my young son to his first sleepover or off to his first year of college (which will happen sooner than I realize). My nerves are twisted in knots, and all I can do is pray it will be received well. You never feel so helpless than when you have to surrender up something you love.

But I couldn’t imagine a better place for it to be than in God’s hands.

Fanny Jane Crosby, the composer of the well-known hymn “Blessed assurance,” was born blind. Not only did she write over 9,000 hymns, but her life was also an example of trusting God and walking by faith. Despite the hardships of being blind, she considered her blindness a blessing:  

Hymnals in church pews

“It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.” (Franny Crosby: America’s Hymn Queen, Christianity.com, April 2010)

Franny Crosby never started writing a hymn without praying first.

I was recently asked why God wasn’t stopping the coronavirus. Tough question. I mentioned about the earth being cursed. When sin entered the world, so did death, but then an awareness hit me. I questioned if they’d prayed to God to stop it?

At that moment, I had to check myself. Sure, I’d prayed for protection over my family and friends, but had I asked God to put an end to the virus?

James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you have not asked God.”

You better believe I’ve started asking. Can God stop the coronavirus tomorrow? Yes, He could. God’s arm is never too short. Will He stop it tomorrow? That, I don’t know, but I do know the prayers of the righteous avail much, and if we’re praying, God will be merciful.

This, too, will pass, but in the meantime, God will use it to draw His children to Him. The virus is a reminder that this is not our home. We are temporary residents—missionaries on a strange planet. Our home is in heaven, where there is no sickness, death, or disease.

I saw written on a T-shirt, “The struggle is real, but so is God,” and I couldn’t help thinking, how true. I have blessed assurance because I know God is real. He never wastes a hurt, and He certainly isn’t about to overlook this one.  

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