As a writer, I primarily work in fiction. Before I knew Christ or ever truly engaged Scripture, God impacted me spiritually through the written word; through beautiful, redemptive narratives and poetry. A Wrinkle in Time, Jane Eyre and many other stories that reflect the greater Story, how “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:15)
In Ecclesiastes,Solomon tells the story of his struggle to find meaning in life. With strong and compelling language, he vacillates between despair and hope. He spends chapters writing about the meaningless of everything in life – work, pleasure, knowledge, wisdom, riches – because “all share a common destiny – the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad” (Ecclesiastes 9:2). It’s true! It is all meaningless unless we believe in eternal life, the free gift of God, through His Son.
I wrote a story last year that put me on the shortlist (top ten) for a fellowship given by Pen Parentis, an organization that supports and promotes a community of people who are both parents and authors. The organization is secular, based out of New York and only two of the ten stories selected had authors who were not from New York, so I was fairly surprised that I was one of them. I mention it because the title of my story, “Before the Silver Cord is Broken”, was taken from Ecclesiastes. I took it from chapter 12:
“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come…” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
Verses 6 and 7 continue:
“Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
The story I wrote, like Ecclesiastes, has darkness in it. Because there is darkness in the world and in our lives, and in our deepest places, we want to hear stories that are true. I’m comforted by Solomon’s struggle – I understand it and find solace in knowing I’m not alone in my experience. But the strength of the story I wrote is in the greater truth I hope I expressed – that the light is stronger than the darkness; that there is hope in despair and meaning in existence because eternal life is Real and goodness is Real and love is Real. Our life on earth is meaningful because we carry those truths with us; because we can tell the story and live the story with the help of the Spirit.