“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” John 8:32, TLV
Every inspirational author knows their story must have a Biblical truth that supports it. A takeaway the reader can apply to their own life. There are folks who are of the opinion that a novel is just a story meant for entertainment. A bit of fluff to pass the time. Nothing could be further from reality—whether “fluff,” mystery, historical, science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, we have a message we want to convey. A message from the heart of God.
Why is it important to find the truth?
To answer that question, let’s explore the greatest storyteller of all time. Jesus—Yeshua—the Author of Life (Acts 3:15) and the Author of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). We call His stories, parables.
A parable is usually a short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or a religious truth.
Nearly a third of those red-lettered words in the Bible are parables. Our Savior’s stories were meant to teach His followers both simple and complex truths. Concealed within each one was brilliant, life-changing insights. Insights that weren’t always understood immediately by His followers. Truths that could take a lifetime to fully understand.
Many believe the parables were spoken to hide the truths Jesus wished to convey from those who called Him a heretic. But I’m not sure that’s accurate. Yes, some were meant to hide the truth from those who were not followers (Matthew 13:11). However, there were stories He told that those who accused Him of heresy understood exactly what Jesus said—in fact, they wanted to kill Him for it (Luke 20:9-19).
Storytellers and Historians
The Jewish people were storytellers and oral historians. Long before Moses wrote the Torah (Genesis to Deuteronomy), the people’s history was passed on around campfires, and in tents, and huts. Culturally, stories resonated and were remembered by families. Why? Because stories couch truth in emotion—fear, joy, humor, inspiration.
Stories, like testimonies, help us apply truth. Reading or hearing about a character or individual who learns a lesson through challenges and conflicts touches parts of our brain and heart more deeply than simply conveying a fact or truth.
How do Authors Find their Story’s Truth?
So, how do authors find the truth in their stories? Sometimes the truth finds me, other times I do have to search. I find the truth in one of three ways, the truth:
- builds the story
- is found within the story
- happens at the same time.
In other words, either God reveals a truth and the story comes from that, or I get the story first, and the truth reveals itself as I go along. On those rare occasions where the truth and story happen at the same time . . . Well, let’s just say it’s a time of awe.
In my current project, the truth was hard-won from a personal experience, which then inspired the story. More on that later.
Why is finding the truth important to us as inspirational writers? Our Heavenly Father created us to create stories—stories with purpose and meaning. Every word, paragraph, scene, chapter, and page should direct the reader to the words of eternal life. Whether the message is about forgiveness, salvation, healing, or our role in the Kingdom, we search for those gems with diligence and with the understanding that what is meaningful to our faith journey, will be meaningful to others.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the salvation message is overt. I believe my job is not to tell but to show the love of our Heavenly Father—to show the reader who has the words of eternal life (John 6:68).
In the coming weeks, I will be talking about the origins of my current manuscript. One that I’m shopping around to agents—and would appreciate your prayers. In the meantime, I’d love to see your thoughts, ideas, and questions.