Good morning Natalie,
It is ironic, isn’t it, that the Bible has many very dark accounts in it, yet some Christian publishers shy away from authentic darkness that emerges into hope. In my Bible, Psalms 23 tells me that God walks with me in the “Valley of the Shadow of Death” and teaches me to “Fear no evil, for [His] rod (of protection) and [His] staff (method of drawing me back when I go astray)…comforts me.” There are many tactful ways of covering darkness which doesn’t shirk the duty of being authentic with it, yet do not lure the readers into reveling in it, or corrupt innocence or the love of Hope and Light.
Check out some of the Articles written by the Story Embers staff under the Blog menu at the top. God calls us to be truthful about evil and all its forms, so how can one warn others about evil’s deceptions if we do not first deal honestly and truthfully with real darkness? Seems to me that we limit God by our fears of Satan’s antics and abilities, but that is not the mindset of a warrior and overcome who knows who they are in Christ. Jesus said that the war is over, when He declared from hanging bodily by nails on the most brutal torture device ever devised in the history of mankind, that “It is finished.” What’s left for us is to declare within us that very same victory and take back the territory the enemy of our souls has stolen. We are in a reclamation campaign, declaring victory and pushing back the darkness by the authority given to us by being Christ’s own family. We are covered in Blood-bought armor, we can charge the very gates of Hell and not be defeated. We can turn the fiery darts of the enemy with this new shining shield of our Faith. We can command the very darkest of demons to vacate their strongholds because we are reclaiming those premises in the Name of Our Risen King Jesus.
We are charged and commissioned to go into the darkness and bear the Light of the Truth. So do it. Charge the darkness. Expose the enemy’s nefarious schemes. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says to “cast down” anything that gets in the way of your campaign of reclamation. You are a warrior. We’re not batting at butterflies here.
Maybe God’s silence is due to the fact that I’m asking the wrong questions. Maybe I should be asking where to put these things, rather than badgering Him for affirmation that I’m writing in the right direction.
Be careful not to limit God in the how, where, and upon what occasion He must speak. Remember Psalms (19:1; 97:6; 50:6) says even the heavens above declare Him. God always affirms His Truth in His Word, and Jesus is the embodiment of everything He says, but we are to study the many ways God speaks. The Holy Spirit affirms within you what resonates with what God is revealing to you. 1 John 2:27 says you don’t even need an external teacher, if you abide in the truth of what you already know, and claim it for your own, thereby shutting down Satan’s agent’s whispering campaign against you.
Sometimes peering into the darkness and the bleakness of the sea of humanity might bring you to despair, but remember, the Titanic is sinking, and you are a spotter in one of the lifeboats. Let God direct you to where to call attention to a drowning victim. Remember as a “spotter” you cannot also “row the lifeboat there”, but you can ask God to focus you on who in the surfeiting sea is still resisting the cold darkness and sincerely seeking. God will get the boat there, just hold up the light for them.
Short stories are not the sign of diminutive writers. Which of Jesus’s parables was a full-length novel? Was O. Henry (William Sydney Porter) not a success because he never crossed the 100-page mark? Short stories are often more widely read because they ARE short and more accessible to a time-pressed audience. You will probably be a more prolific writer than most of us who opt to crank away at the grindstone of some Magnus Opus.
I just want to encourage you to look for the little ways God is speaking to you. Sometimes it is through a song, an overheard conversation, the brief smile of someone you pass in a store. Look into His Word and ask Him to show you an “I love you” message. He longs to do so. He grieved so much over the separation of His children from Him that He personally went into a dark world to give them a chance to come back to Him.
Romans 8:1 declares that you are under no condemnation in your walking in Him. Satan is the condemning one. The Holy Spirit is the convicting one. Here’s the difference. Condemnation confines you and binds you to a charge and a feeling that brings you under bondage. Conviction alerts you to something you should avoid and it encourages you to take positive action with regard to it. There is Hope and a Path to resolution in conviction. There is none in condemnation. Succinctly put: Condemnation – Feeling vs. Conviction – Action.
James 1:17 says “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights…”
Matthew 7:7-12 shows what kind of Father He is. He loves you and died for you to prove it. Jeremiah 29:11 says, He has great plans for you, and not to bring you to harm. This is the Light that pierces every darkness. Be encouraged in His light.
Whatever resonates with your inner spirit tuned to the new nature God has invested in you, IS Him speaking to you. Sometimes we just need to learn to turn down the other noise that clamors for our immediate attention. His voice is a soft melody playing in the background. Get to s quiet place, with an open heart, and you will not fail to hear it.
Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
I was born in war.
Fighting from my first breath.