Faith, part II

» Posted on Feb 22, 2007 in Blog | Comments Off on Faith, part II

Sue from Texas is my winner for Renovated Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck. Congratulations!

To be an intricate part of your story faith must be interwoven with at least one of the character’s goals, motivation or conflicts (more is better). For example, in Heart of the Amazon, Kate decides that God led her to Slader to show him the way to the Lord. That became a goal for her in the story. Or in Light in the Storm, Sam was a minister who had lost his faith. His goal when he came to Sweetwater Lake was to either get his faith back or to walk away from the Lord forever. In The Cinderella Plan, Anne was a nonbeliever and Caleb was a youth minister. He could never see himself getting romantically involved with a nonbeliever, so when he became friends with Anne and was attracted to her, he faced a dilemma. His faith became an internal conflict for Caleb. Could he walk away from a nonbeliever when he was falling in love with her? In my April Love Inspired, Once Upon a Family, Peter is motivated to show Laura that if she puts her trust in God then anything is possible. She has lost her ability to trust a man or her own judgment, and he’s falling in love with her.

From these examples you can see when building your character’s background, you need to make decisions about his faith. Does he believe? Has he ever believed? Why doesn’t he believe? What makes him turn to God for help? What made him turn away from the Lord? When did he give himself to Christ? How does he practice his faith? Does he have doubts about his faith? Why? What kind of temptations has he dealt with? These and more are questions that you need to answer before you begin writing. They are questions you need to answer as you are developing your plot because the faith element should be a part of your plot.

In last October’s Love Inspired, Tidings of Joy, Chance can’t move on in his life without dealing with his past. Chance went to prison for killing his wife and daughter and served several years for a crime he didn’t commit. Finally the real killer was caught. Chance reaffirms his faith in Christ and uses that to come to terms with the man who murdered his wife and daughter.

This is an excerpt from Tidings of Joy.

Hopefully it will be over tomorrow, Chance thought by Thursday evening after spending the whole week in the courtroom. The jury was deliberating as he sat in his darkened hotel room. He didn’t think they would be out long because the evidence had been compelling. But then a jury had convicted him on circumstantial evidence that had thrown his already messed up life into a tailspin so it was hard to tell what a jury would do.

Only in the past few days with first Tanya and later her circle of friends and their husbands sitting around him as support had he experienced again the peace he had felt that time in church with Tanya. He could still feel the comfort of her hand within his throughout the closing statements by each of the lawyers. Each look, touch had soothed his pain until now all he wanted to do was let go of this anger that had consumed him for years while
he had sat in a cell–physically, and as he knew now, mentally, too.

Lord, I don’t want to feel this way anymore. What do I do?

In the dark he caught sight of his Bible on the table in front of the window, a stream of light illuminating it. Every night before going to sleep he had read it until his eyes had drooped close.

He flipped on the lamp beside him and reached for his Bible. Tanya had insisted he had to forgive his family’s killer in order to be totally at peace and able to move on. How do I do that, Father?

He turned to Luke and read the account of Christ’s ministry, his death. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his garments, and cast lots.”

The words leaped off the page, striking Chance with their meaning. If Christ can forgive the people who tormented and killed him, then the least I can do is the same: forgive the man who murdered my wife and daughter.

After finishing Luke, Chance closed his Bible and fingered the gold letters of his name engraved in the black cover.

He imagined the killer in his mind. “I forgive you,” he whispered into the silence of the room. Then in a stronger voice he repeated, “I forgive you.”

With each word uttered, a part of his anger dissolved. Left in its wake was the peace he had craved.

In Tidings of Joy this story wouldn’t have really worked without Chance being able to put his past behind him. His past was like chains weighing him down until he could do nothing.

The last part of the Faith series will be posted next week.