I wrote a short story on October 18th, 2015. It’s ten pages long— the result of a particularly vivid dream I had. (I won’t bore you with the details. Dreams should be summed up in one sentence or not at all.) I did nothing with the story until May of the following year, when I did something I would never, ever normally do. I wrote a sequel. Then I wrote another. And another. And another.
Here I am, January of 2018, and I have no less than eighteen short stories revolving around the same five characters. They’re not all in chronological order, but they all agree that number one is the beginning, and number eleven is the ending.
I would have never guessed it. The characters have grown and changed, and finally, after two and a half years of writing, I realized that the characters are finally becoming believable. They’re not just extensions of myself anymore— they have a life of their own. They have become somewhat deeper and more complex than originally intended, but at the same time there is just something lacking. That puzzled me, and it took me a while to figure out why they lacked.
It’s because my characters, no matter how good and believable, are not people. As the members of the Pre Raphaelite movement would say, they are a lie. They are made to represent something that is real, but they themselves are not real. I might be the world’s best writer. (I’m not.) I might be the world’s most talented painter. (I’m most certainly not.) I might be able to create the most moving, complex, incredible depiction of humanity that moves stoics to tears and instills an awe in all who see it, but it will always remain just that: a depiction.
Because there’s only one Being who can create more than a depiction of what someone else has already made.
And guess what? While I’ve been busy exploring my five characters, that Someone has been making an even better story. He started with the beginning, and then He wrote a sequel. And then He wrote another, and another, and another. He’s still going today, and just like my little series of stories, the Ending is already decided. I am a character in His Story, just like you and your friends and every single thing in the universe. Unlike me, God is perfectly capable of creating characters that are indisputably real.
We are all characters in God’s story. My characters always do what I want, but God’s characters are real. They have a choice. They were given Free Will. We all have a part to play, and our daily choice is whether we are going to fight it, or embrace it.
Which will you choose?