by Nancy Ellen Hird
Have you ever traveled a barren stretch of highway? Have you traveled such a road, your mouth growing drier by the nanosecond and your stomach growling like an angry bear? Your eyes dart to the side of the road. They search the highway ahead. You are watching for an exit sign that promises a restaurant.
Ah, a restaurant-food, water, a restroom. And a safe place where you can walk around and let you muscles unknot. But on this wild, deserted road, will there be such a place? And when? Then you see it–the sign. Hope rises. It’s only ten miles away.
Our books and our short stories can be like signs for the travelers of this life. Our signs do not tell of a restaurant, they read-God, 10 miles. Notice, I didn’t say our fiction was Scripture. It cannot empower a life to change, but it can point to the One who does change lives. Our stories that depict people finding faith or struggling with their faith or acting on their faith and through it all discovering that God is faithful tell readers that He exists. And more importantly, they show that He is not on vacation. He is involved. He guides; He rescues; He redeems; He loves.
Some people in our culture might dismiss our fiction. To them we are only telling stories, entertaining stories, but just stories nevertheless. Yet when our characters feel life-like (and it is in the characters) our readers begin to hope or wonder or remember that God will do for them what He has done for the characters in the book. Our readers may then with a small prayer get off the barren road and find Him. In that case He will not be 10 miles away, but only a wish, a thought, a breath away.
So keep making your signs. Someone, probably more than one someone, is on a barren stretch of road and they’re watching, hoping for your sign.
Nancy Ellen Hird’s latest book is I Get a Clue-from My Edinburgh Files, a mystery for girls, ages 10-13, http://desertfirespress.com. Currently, she is working on a new mystery about Libby and her friends. Nancy is the team leader for the blog, Books 4 Christian Kids, http://nancyellenhird.wordpress.com.