In order to write strong fiction, I have to “experience” my characters’ emotions as best I can. I have to get inside them: feel what they feel, see what they see, fear what they fear.
Even if I experience the scene from only one person’s point of view, I still must have an idea at least of what the other characters in the situation think and feel. No matter how light or funny the scene, this drains mental energy.
Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I love to write, and I love the satisfaction of a scene that turns out well. These imaginary people are the closest to children that I have right now.
So when they hurt, I hurt (even when I cause their pain). Have you ever read a scene that just wrings your heart?
Let me tell you, it wrung the heart of the writer harder.
Sometimes I think the Lord must be like a writer.
He holds our lives in his hands, and He loves each one of His creations. Way more than a writer can love her imaginary friends.
When Mary and Martha lost their brother, Jesus wept with them. But He knew He would raise Lazarus back to life. So why did He weep?
Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.
And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
Perhaps Jesus wept because He experienced the pain that crushed Mary and Martha.
But that is not the only pain God experiences.
In Ezekiel, God speaks to his people about their sin of idolatry. And He makes a statement that caught me off guard.
“Then those of you who escape will remember Me among the nations where they are carried captive, because I was crushed by their adulterous heart which has departed from Me, and by their eyes which play the harlot after their idols; they will loathe themselves for the evils which they committed in all their abominations.”
-Ezekiel 6:9 (emphasis mine)
Did you catch it?
Our sin crushes the heart of our God.
When we seek fulfillment in worldly pursuits, instead of looking to God for our deepest needs, we crush the God who gave His very best for us–the life of His firstborn Son.
When our eyes turn from God and long for the pleasures of this world–even if we don’t actually engage in them–we trample on the love of the One who plans only His best for us.
What are we doing? We are so ignorant.
As a writer, I make my characters make mistakes sometimes, for the sake of a good plot. But I still grieve for their pain.
How much more does God grieve when we stray? He knows we will end in loathing ourselves for our evils.
But He wants to give us only goodness. Which is Himself.
It gives me a different perspective on my flighty, unsteady heart.