Guest blog post by Cathy Bryant
By far, the question I receive most often when it comes to writing fiction is: What's the story behind the story? In other words, people want to know my motivation and inspiration for writing the book.
With CROSSROADS, the sixth Miller's Creek novel and a Christian contemporary romance, the original germ of an idea actually came as I watched the movie, God's Not Dead. The thought occurred to me that each of us knows someone who has either defected from the faith or altogether refuses to acknowledge the existence of God. It might be a friend, co-worker, or even a family member.
All fiction writers are taught to ask the question, 'what if?' So for me, my 'what if?' became this story question: What if an ex-military man and Christian found himself involved in the life of a bitter atheist and single mom who wanted nothing to do with his God?
Once that question was in place, other questions popped up. What happened to the female lead in the story to make her antagonistic toward the faith? What questions and arguments would she have? How would our ex-military hero--a man who sees himself as a defender--go to battle in a spiritual sense? What internal dilemma would he have to overcome to defend his faith? And most importantly, what would it take to turn our heroine around?
In the book, I sought to explore this spiritual topic, not just for the sake of the storyline, but also for each of us as believers. I wanted to know how I could best handle the objections of those opposed to faith in Christ. I wanted to be prepared to answer the tough questions these folks often have. And I hoped in the process to also help others in their own defense of the faith.
Some of the questions non-believers tend to have are: If God is so good and loving, then why does He allow evil? If God cares about me, then why have so many bad things happened to me? How do you know the Bible is true? What if the people who wrote the Bible made it up? How do you know that Jesus is really who He claims to be? What if He was just a delusional man with dubious motivies?
Can you think of other tough questions often
levied at Christians by non-believers?
I've been confronted by all these questions at one time or another, but suddenly it became personal for me. How did God want me to respond to these people? What could I do to make a difference for Christ and His Kingdom when it came to answering their questions? And how could I incorporate all this in the story of CROSSROADS?
Here's what the process involved for me: I devoured my Bible and books on apologetics to find answers for tough questions. I wrote the PROOF blog post series about what I'd learned. Next, I turned some of these posts into videos. And of course, I included it all in the storyline of the book.
As I wrote the story, a few things crystallized in my mind.
1) In the end, it all comes down to faith, and that's a decision each person must make for themselves. While we can hope and pray for others to turn to God, ultimately the decision is theirs. Faith is something we can't force on others.
2) Based on 1 Peter 3:15, we need to be prepared to answer the tough questions that come our way from those who don't believe.
3) And above all, our response should be one of unconditional love and persistent prayer. No one is a lost cause or beyond the power of God.
I pray we'll all be prepared to give a defense to those who ask about the reason for our hope.
Look for more posts on Cathy's new release as the week progresses!