I have been thinking about stones recently. Especially, of course, the stone across the entrance to the tomb. But not so much about its existence as the fact that it was removed and was no longer an obstacle – which has led me on to think about the power of God and His involvement in our lives.
I have had a stone in my life. As many of you will know I am an author, and I am busy with my third novel in the series God’s People. Believers deals with the early church, looking at the struggles that faced them. We are not so different today for our struggles are similar to theirs.
But it was not the church’s struggles that became my stone, but rather the final story – and, looking back I had to laugh because it’s always the final story. The one that is the crux of each book. In Witnesses, I knew I needed to write about the events in the Upper Room, but I knew I could not use a disciple to tell the story (although at the time of writing I did not know why). It turned out that the reason for that was because the second book was to be called Disciples and all the disciples needed to tell their stories in that one. As a result, in Disciples, the stone was the story of Judas.
In both cases, these stories held me back as I had no idea how to write either. I woke one morning, several weeks after I had written all the other stories for Witnesses to hear words echoing in my head ‘I am a water carrier’ and the storyteller for the Upper Room scene introduced himself to me. His story took me less than an hour to write.
For Disciples, I asked some friends to pray for me, telling them I would be writing on Maundy Thursday at 08h00 in 2016. At 05h00 I woke up with ideas buzzing around in my mind and I came through to my study, turned on my computer and wrote Judas’ story in about twenty minutes. It did not go where I had imagined it would – he told me the story himself, somehow (speak to other authors and they will tell you this often happens – the characters tell their own stories. Sometimes you have to pull them back into line!)
So, twice, God had given me the final stories. In the last six weeks or so I have been struggling to write the final story for Believers. We only hear about the person who was to tell the story in three verses in Acts – not a lot to build a story around. But on Easter Sunday, as I was getting ready to go to celebrate the Risen Lord, I had a flash of inspiration.
I knew in that moment that the storyteller would prepare the Easter morning celebration for their infant church and the scene unfolded in front of me. This revelation led to a sudden awareness of how the book would end too – something else I rely on God to reveal to me.
I could hardly sit through the service, I was so excited and eager to write it all down. But God was not finished with me yet. Through the sermon preached that morning, He gave me two more ideas for the story He wanted me to write, and so, when I came home, I sat in the sun and recorded the story.
God inspires me throughout my writing – but I have been in awe this week as I have realised that in all three books there is a story that is completely His. The stone of uncertainty has been rolled away; the Scripture stories are finished and the final thread of today’s story is being woven through Believers.
What stone do you have blocking your path and preventing you from doing the work God has given you to do. Ask Him to move it for you. He can and He will.
Do it again, Lord.