Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Which Two Small Birds are Discussed

This is Julie one more time with the CSFF Blog tour, discussing The Fatal Tree by Stephen R. Lawhead (Facebook).

As I mentioned in my review of The Fatal Tree, I personally cannot fathom of any series of events that would cause any real threat of God's creation coming undone and being made to have never existed.

True story--this last Friday, my mom was scheduled for surgery. Not the particularly risky kind, but scary enough. At work that morning, when I walked toward the parking garage stairs, there were two little birds directly on the landing. While occasionally I'll see some little birds downstairs by the cafe or near the condos near our office, I don't recall EVER seeing any on the parking garage landing, let alone a pair of them just sitting there, as if waiting.
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.   (Matthew 10:29-31, NASB) (Full chapter for context)
The simple sight of two unexpected birds, not necessarily sparrows, gave me complete comfort and confidence. Not complete confidence that the surgery would go perfectly--after all, Jesus is worth more than me, and He sure suffered a lot. But I believe in an omnipotent and omniscient God, so anything that happens--whether it seems pleasant or seems dreadful at the time--is all in His hands. It's hard to wrap my head around it, but I believe He will work all things to good.

And when Adam and Eve sinned, God had a plan to redeem mankind, not to rewind the tape and start again. I don't see how anything any human or humans could ever do could affect Jesus' sacrifice, let alone make it so that it never happened.

Now, all that said, if the multiverses of Bright Empires were real, I think it's fair to speculate that God might allow people to think that all worlds would be unraveling in that way, while He, being outside of time, knows full well that the threat won't come to pass. (Not sure about the theology about realities falling apart before people's eyes, but that wasn't what bothered me for whatever reason.)

Oh yes, and by all accounts, my mom's surgery did go very well, and she is currently on the mend. And yes, it's easier to have faith in God's goodness when things are going relatively well for yourself. But I hope that when a tragedy does finally strike, as it strikes everyone at some point, I will still see that God is there and that He will work all things to good for those who love Him.

Thanks for the tour, all!


  1. Maybe letting people think multiple worlds are unraveling is a way to let the characters think they are in control, rather than God. Small children run from parents in false independence, but parents step in when their child faces harm. This reminded me of what happened around the Spirit Well. The Lord kept safe from getting harmed.

    1. Interesting point! I hadn't thought of it that way...maybe because of the fate of one particular character who was trying to get to the Spirit Well but didn't make it there. But on a macro level, I think you're right.

  2. What a poignant example! I appreciated your angle on this.

  3. Glad your mom's surgery went well!

    To me the plot isn't so much about "letting people think the universe is unraveling" as it is a picture of much of what happens in the real world. It's the conflict between free will and sovereignty. In the book, the universe really IS unraveling. If the heroes don't get to the Spirit Well and change something, they really will all die. But it's never out of God's hands. He knows the universe is falling apart. He also knows they'll get there.

    It's kind of like when the apostle Paul was on a ship in a storm, and God told him that the ship would be saved and everyone on it. When the sailors wanted to bail, Paul told them to stay on the ship or they would all drown. They stayed, and God saved them. Were they ever in danger of drowning? Yes. And it was a real danger. But God's plan wins.

    Good thoughts all around :). Thanks for the interesting discussion!

    1. Thanks, Rachel, and good thinking! I think I get stuck thinking what God "wouldn't" let happen. On the one hand, that can be very dangerous (a lot of people think that God "wouldn't" let a particular bad thing happen, forever, which isn't Biblical and isn't borne out by evidence). But I still can't wrap my mind around the idea that God would let His creation, the birth, death, and resurrection of His son, and maybe even the Bible be undone, since that sure doesn't seem to match with His plans or (in my opinion) His word.

      But, technically, God COULD do anything! Even things I don't think He would do. :D

  4. Wonderful thoughts! I agree. I think that God will work all things together for good.

  5. I never thought the universe was going to unravel, either, but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the story. I am often confident, while reading novels or watching films/TV, that the worst-case scenario is never going to happen, but I'm on board for the adventure anyway.

    I'm happy to hear your mom's surgery went well. Thanks for sharing how God encouraged you.

    1. Thank you, Shannon! You are completely right that the worst-case scenario is never going to come to pass in practically all entertainment, so I'm not sure why the fact that this "couldn't" happen distracted me a bit too much.


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