The Author looked up when he heard a knock at his door.
Smiling slightly to himself, he stood up from his seat by the warmth of the fire, walked to the door, and opened it to the blistering cold outside.
There, stamping his feet on the Author's doormat, was his Character.
“Sir,” the Character said, his hands tucked into his armpits and his chin digging into his chest. “I need to speak with you.”
The Author opened his door wider. “Of course, son,” he said, taking a step aside so that the welcoming fireplace and cushioned seats were in the view of his Character. “Come in, come in.”
The Character complied, standing just beyond the threshold while the Author shut the door again. He then followed the Author to the fire.
“Sit down,” the Author insisted, gesturing towards the chair opposite his.
For a moment, the Character considered taking the other, more plush-looking seat, in spite of the Author. Then, he sighed and sat down in the offered chair. It was still far more comfortable than the icy ground he had recently become accustomed to.
“Now,” the Author said, seating himself opposite the Character. “what is it you wanted to talk to me about?”
“It's about what you've been doing to me in the story,” the Character said immediately, boldly. After he had spoken, he wondered if he had been too forward.
The Author leaned back in his chair with a sigh. “Very well,” he said [not unkindly]. “What's bothering you about the story?”
The Character began to recount everything that had been done to him. He ranted about all the characters that had been killed, specifically the ones that had been taken from him in the last twenty-four hours of the story, and then groused about the torments he had suffered.
“... and now, you want me to fight an enemy brigade of over three hundred men! Alone!” the Character finished. “How do you expect me to survive?”
The Author had remained silent throughout the Character's discourse. Now, he readjusted his position in his chair and considered the Character.
The Character had a sudden, horrible thought. He leaned forward in the chair. “Do you expect me to survive?” he asked.
Still, the Author did not speak.
“This silence is making me very worried,” the Character said.
The Author did not respond. He simply sat there, his hand brushing through his small beard.
“You have to tell me something!” the Character exclaimed.
The Author leaned forward. “I was simply trying to arrange my thoughts,” he said calmly. “I will not tell you what happens next.” The Author then stood to his feet and turned to face a door behind him. “Would you like something to drink, son?”
The Character would not be swayed that easily. “Why won't you tell me what happens next? It's my story, after all.”
The Author stopped his trek to the door leading to the kitchen and turned to face the Character again. The look in his eyes made the Character wish he could pull the words that had just escaped his lips back into his throat, though he did not know why.
“It is not your story,” the Author said, his voice as casual as his regular clothes. “it is my story about you.” Then, the Author took a deep breath. “What if I told you that in the next chapter of your story, you were to be mauled by a beast?”
The Character answered right away. “Of course I would try to avoid it.”
The Author stepped back to the fire so his face was more visible to the Character. “But what if I then told you that because you were attacked by the beast, you were airlifted to the hospital, where you meet a woman who had captured your whole being, who you would sacrifice your life for, who would always be in your heart and on your mind?”
The Character opened his mouth to respond, hesitated, then found that he had snapped it shut again.
The Author nodded. “Do you see? I would have to tell you everything in order for you to understand why everything had occurred. And even then, you still would not fully grasp why it has all happened.”
“But... I'm not going to be mauled by a beast in the next chapter, right?” The Character asked worriedly.
The Author chuckled quietly, his smile amused. “If I told you everything I have just said was going to happen, would you let that beast attack you?”
The Character looked away from the Author and into the crackling fire, unsure how to respond.
The Author paused before speaking again. “I will tell you, though, that everything in the story is for a purpose, even if you can't see why yet.”
The Character looked back up at the Author again. He held his gaze for a moment, then stood and sighed. “All right, fine. I'll take whatever comes. Just so long as you finish my story-” he stopped and then corrected himself. “I mean, your story – with a good ending.”
The Author laughed as he led his Character to the door. “Of course I will, son. Now, you take care.”
The Character turned to look back when he passed the threshold. “Only you know if I will,” he replied, and then started back through the snow the way he came.
The Author watched him until he was out of sight. He knew that the Character did not quite understand this meeting yet, but he would. It would all make sense in the next chapter.
I think that we are all like the character in this story. We have all gone through times of trial, sorrow, and tribulation. We have all wondered why bad things happen to us. We have all asked God why He would let us be hurt. But what we tend to forget is that it pains the Author just as much as it hurts us. When I write stories, I will find myself weeping during the hard times, mourning with the characters I am hurting. But God knows that these trials are for our good, and the good of others. They are testing us and making us ready. They are shaping us and preparing us for what He has in store for us.
Not only that, but God also knows the outcome of these trials. He can already see how they will end. He can see how it takes part in our walk with Him, and how it affects others. He can already see how these tribulations will work in our hearts for His glory.
I like to think of God as the Author more than anything else. I imagine the words being written and already drying on the pages as what we can see happening and what has happened before. The words that are yet to be written are the future, what we cannot yet see or read yet. But it is all in the Author's mind. It's already planned out, laid out like a map with a hundred thousand routes and destinations representing every human being in the world. He's already been to the end of the story, and has seen it a thousand times over. It's simply not on the page yet for us to read.
Sometimes, though, this can frustrate us. We are waiting to find out what happens to us at the end of our portion in the overall story, and the Author is giving us only little bits of it at a time. And then our suffering! It seems to go on for an eternal number of chapters, without an end in sight. We keep asking “Why?” but our only answer seems to be “Wait.” How long do we have to wait?
I've asked that question before. Many times, many consecutive days. Sometimes it was a subconscious thing, other days it was in the forefront of my mind. I had been abandoned by someone I used to talk to all the time and considered a friend, and I didn't know how to react, much less know what to do every single day.
It was a year before I really began to realize why God had added these chapters into His story. I began to understand how important the friends I had were to me, along with how I should never take them for granted, as I had before that year. Friendship is a blessing from God, and I had never seen it that way.
Also, I can now see God more as a friend than ever before. I don't believe I truly knew the meaning of friend until after that year. Now, I can see that God was with me, even when I felt alone.
Finally, God gave me a story of my own to write. Before then, my stories were, in my opinion, either mediocre or were written so long ago that they no longer were considered “well-written” in my mind. The trials shown in these stories were extremely distant from me, and because of this did not seem very real to me. This story, however, seemed to take on something that the others did not: truth. I would have never been able to fully write the story without that year. Even though it may seem like a small, insignificant thing, I believe that it is a beginning to a new chapter. I believe that God has given me the trials He has in His story in order to help me write my own stories with truth behind the ink. He is letting me be able to connect with other people through characters who are struggling like others in real life, and I feel as if I have written it to the best of my ability simply because I have gone through that year when I felt more alone than I ever had before. All I can do now is pray that God will touch people's hearts through what I have written.
I thank God for the trials, because He is shaping us in ways that we cannot even begin to describe. I would have never thought that God was working on me to influence my writing in my loneliness. Now, I can see it clearly through what I have completed. His ways are mysterious, but we can always trust that He is working all things for good, and we can believe that God will be with us through every trial we face.
by Allison Robeson