The Great American Musical
That Is Life

In high school, I was involved with every musical the drama
department produced: My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Carousel. Each of them, including The Music Man, Oklahoma!,
and Hello, Dolly! at community theatre,
cemented into my brain the belief that life has a soundtrack—and that
soundtrack fits with and enhances the actions on stage.

So strong is the connection in my mind between music and
story that I cannot think of one without the other. I purposefully leave my
iPod on shuffle to test my hypothesis that the right song will play in your
life for each dramatic moment—just as it does on stage. And frequently I’m
right.

So, you’d think I’d be used to the intersections, but it is
still a magical moment when God—because that’s Who I know writes the score of
my life—inserts the right song into my libretto.

Enter conflict

I’ve just entered a phase of life that is, while not exactly
the Dark Moment, certainly dim.  For the first time in my life, I am
unemployed—and it was unexpected. On a recent Sunday, I needed reassurance that
God was faithful and would not leave me—that He had the strength even though I
did not.
Worship that day began with:
Give thanks to the Lord, Our God and King
His love endures forever
For He is good, He is above all things
His love endures forever



Forever God is faithful. Forever God is strong.
Forever God is with us. Forever. (Chris Tomlin)
From there:
You
are the everlasting God, the everlasting God
You do not faint. You won’t grow weary

You’re the defender of the weak. You comfort those in need.
You lift us up on wings like eagles.
(Chris Tomlin)

And the service ended with Great Is Thy Faithfulness and it’s fantastic line, “There is no
shadow of turning with Thee.”
God was pulling a Bill Engvall, “Here’s your sign!”

God speaking

The next Sunday, I am having a hard time seeing the way
forward and am worrying about the future. So what does worship start with?

Today is the day You have made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.
Today is the day You have made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.
And I won’t worry about tomorrow; I’m trusting in what You say.
Today is the day.
(Lincoln Brewster, bold added)
In my last week at work, I had to go in to do some work in
the office rather than work from home. I didn’t think I could do it. As I’m
approaching work, this song plays on my iPod:
When
you’re alone, your heart is torn, He is all you need.
When you’re confused, your soul is bruised, He is all you need.
He’s the rock of your soul. He’s the anchor that holds
Through your desperate time.
When your way is unsure His love will endure, and peace you will find
Through all your years, the joy, the tears, He is all you need.
(Steve Camp)
When my last day on the job came and I’m driving home, afraid
(yet again) for the future:
My life is up and it is down. I try to keep both feet on the ground.
Your love is all that gets me through. All I need on this earth is You.
And
I can hear Your voice inviting:
“I’m here. I’ll never leave your side.
My stubborn weary child, I am still here.
Please let me lead you on. Your race is already won.
I am your God.”
(Leigh Nash)
If
you don’t know God, you may be tempted to think I went and found the songs I
needed to salve my soul. But the worship service songs are documented and the
other two are noted on my Facebook page at the time they happened.
But
what does this have to do with writing? Why did I write about this on Novel
Rocket, a site devoted to providing you with the propulsion you need to launch
your novel dream?

God whispers and roars

If I
had read this account in a novel, I would have been tempted to give a little
sanctimonious sneer, “Too much, too much. The author overplayed the ‘God’
card.”
Are
we willing, in our novels, to let God be God? He is, as C.S. Lewis wrote, an untamed lion. God should
always provide, in your novel, whatever your character needs to believe or to
take the next step—regardless of whether that seems over the top. This is what
He does.
It’s
a cliché that “truth is stranger than fiction.” Don’t use that in your book. But
don’t be afraid to have your fiction be true—even if it seems strange.

Michael Ehret loves to play with words and as editor of the ACFW Journal, he is enjoying a new playground. He also plays with words as a freelance editor/writer and as a contributor here on Novel Rocket. He has edited several
nonfiction books, played with words as a corporate communicator, and
reported for
The Indianapolis Star.