“I was transformed by the program.
Nothing is the same now.
Not me. Not Kyle.
Not the world.
It’s been two years since the Titan first started killing off Legionaries. He challenged us all to a game but killed ninety-percent of our soldiers before the fight for our survival could begin.
My brother is dead. So is Sarah and all of Kyle’s task force.
Europe is a nuclear wasteland.
The other continents have gone dark.
America is barely a flicker on earth’s rotating screen.
And I know that if things don’t change, its meager light will go out.”
- The Prime Way Program: Divided (Coming fall, 2017)
Conflict sparks a story and keeps it in motion. The first element of plotting an author must determine is the inciting incident, the moment when a character’s life is thrust in a new, life-altering direction. Before the grand conflict, all that exists are a backstory, a character with tremendous flaws and limitless potential. What matters most about the character comes from the pain, the suffering and times when he or she has to either conquer or be conquered. The story itself stems from resistance.
When readers reach the final sentence of a novel, they desire resolution, a sigh-worthy scene where the protagonist at last has what he or she has been fighting to gain. THE END is the end for a reason because once a book or series is finished, the conflict is, in theory, no more. How can we, the authored, live with the expectation that life is meant to be different for us; we should be without obstacles and villains, we should waltz into our dreams as easily as stepping across a threshold?
Without a villain, there cannot be victory.
Without obstacles, a story is an eternal state of THE END.
Obstacles come in various forms. Writers have pinpointed and categorized these struggles: man versus self, man versus man, and man versus world. However, there is one other conflict not included in the list—man versus Satan.
Self is a villain often overlooked. We, the authored, sabotage ourselves. Like any well-developed character, we believe our own lies, we allow insecurities to riot against our calling. Self is an insurgence waging war against the confidence gifted to us as children of the Most High God.
Man is the more notorious villain. In most books and movies, there is an individual wreaking havoc on the protagonist’s life or threatening the world on a massive scale. Although used by storytellers to give evil a face, men can be overcome. They are mortal. They believe their own lies.
World is a villain with power over the physical. It can attack a character’s body and state of wellbeing, but it cannot fully reach an emotional level. The world doesn’t have supernatural authority. However, its ability to deprive is its greatest weapon.
Satan surpasses all villains. He is our greatest enemy, knows when we are weak and works without relent to prevent us from fully experiencing the favor of God. He works . . . but the war against him has been won. We, the authored, have been victoriously rescued and claimed. Our THE END was written before we breathed our beginning. The conflict was resolved before the inciting incident.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John, 16:33
Suffering comes with the question of why, and the answer isn’t sweet and straightforward. It isn’t wrapped in a gift box or include hot tea and fuzzy slippers to comfort us while we deal with its truth. Suffering is the foundation of our story. We live to fight a God-won war, to grow as characters in His saga and reach the victorious THE END. We suffer to manifest the glory of Jesus Christ on earth and magnify His sovereignty.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” – 1 Peter 5:10
My intentions for this post are not to woo with poetic language. Instead, I desire only to offer truth and encourage my fellow comrades. We have been called by the Living Christ to enter into a crusade for His glory. We, the authored, suffer so we can have a meaty, rich story that oozes His divine power. The war isn’t easy and will require everything to complete. With urgency and determination, we must clothe ourselves in righteous armor and battle the villains, obstacles, conflict.
We must allow God to conquer our villains by surrendering ourselves to His plot.
Friends, I have been fighting the good fight and I am weary. Conflict rages in the rooms I enter, saturates the air I breathe, but God has declared victory over my heart and soul. He has won the battles I am now facing, so all I must do is endure.
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” – Exodus 14:14
Our villains do not define us, whether they are memories of sexual abuse, bad relationships, addiction, anxiety or depression, etc. If we have entered into the kingdom of God by confessing our mistakes and asking Him to claim us as sons and daughters, the conflict in our stories has been resolved. We fight with divine armor and God-favor. We are free of fear.
What are your villains? Have you surrendered your pain to God and asked Him to transform your suffering into a glory-rich story?
The protagonist climbed the plot graph, gained and lost, bled and sweat, reached a climax, then plummeted down a falling action. They endured a catastrophic amount of turmoil, yet they’re stronger, wiser. And when their THE END comes, all that once seemed impossible no longer holds relevance. With their THE END comes victory.
Through resistance, they discovered their story.
We, the authored, are won.