Friday, April 25, 2014
Fiction to Refresh Your Spirit
I don’t remember the first Christian novel I read. I do remember that after that, it was difficult to find novels that held my interest unless they had a spiritual focus.
After my father-in-law died, I loaned my mother-in-law some Christian novels to fill her empty hours, and before long, I saw a change in her. She enjoys series, getting to know the people and picturing the places where they lived, feeling a part of their lives. It wasn’t long until I recognized the impact it was having on her life. She became more willing to discuss spiritual matters with me.
My husband’s family immigrated to the US from The Netherlands in 1961. For them, faith is a very private matter, and for years we didn’t talk about it much. The more my mother-in-law read, the more I saw her expressing ideas found in the books she was reading.
Recently, I read an article which stated that Christian romance novels make readers dissatisfied with their own lives. If their loved ones don’t measure up to the hero or heroine, they become frustrated in their relationships. I disagree.
Fiction has a great ability to draw the reader in and engage with their imagination. For spiritual change to take place, people must realize their own weaknesses. Real life has conflict, and so do novels, necessitating imperfect characters. Good character development can cause readers to recognize how different their lives might be if they take God at His word and live in obedience to Him.
Christian fiction teaches spiritual lessons in a gentle, non-confrontational way. People who would never attend a Bible study will read a novel given them by a friend. When they identify with the characters, the fictional spiritual journey may become a real one in the life of the reader.
My debut novel, Land of My Dreams, released on April 22nd, shows the journey of two people who have been hurt by life and blamed God. The reader journeys with them as their faith is challenged and they question God. I felt great joy when an early reader said she had been ministered to by the story I wrote.
Good Christian fiction refreshes the spirit of the believer, and entertains while convicting, instructing, and challenging, via the lives of fictional characters. God created us with an imagination. Why would He not make it capable of being used for His glory?
By Norma Gail