Please refer to my review of, The Word Reclaimed.
What makes a book a hero level story to you? There are two things for me. The first is a superb writing skill. Some writers have an uncanny knack for crafting achingly real characters or plot twists that physically raise your heart rate. I give those books five star rating on Facebook and Amazon. But the second characteristic that makes a story “hero level” to me is even more important. Stories that teach me something. I don’t mean a wonderful non-fiction book (though there are a bunch of hero level non-fiction books) or a heavy-handed message in a novel. I’m talking about writers who may or may not have astounding ability in the technical aspects of story but can bleed pieces of their heart, inspiration, and life mission into the fabric of their stories.
Steve Rzasa’s books, The World Reclaimed and The Word Unleashed impressed an encouraging reminder upon me. The books are space odysseys that pulled me into the struggles of the characters, led me through more world-building detail than I personally care for, and left me with something far less fictional.
God Is Sovereign
No kidding, Leah. I hope you already knew that! Don’t worry, I know and have known for most of my life that God is sovereign. These books just drove the lesson home a little further. They shed light on the truth from a slightly different angle.
One of my personal favorite characters was a guy named Jason–a man charged with protecting antiqued copies of God’s word from destruction at the hands of Kesek. He anxiously watches Baden–the main character–carry an old copy of the Bible into dangerous situations. He urges Baden to take care, saying the precious Bible is not something to be carelessly waved around. As time goes on, Jason begins to recognize God’s hand at work.
“I feared the loss of Scripture and all it represented.” Jason’s breathing grew shallower. “The fear that there would be no evidence of Christianity beyond memories and scattered teachings consumed me. That is why I and the Seventy hid the relics we found.”
“But they do have to be protected.”
“Yes!” Jason coughed. Flecks of blood speckled his pants. Gail held out the subdermal spray but he waved it off. “They need protection, but not seclusion. Baden, you had with you the greatest gift God could give man, but now it’s gone. I should not have made you conceal it.”
Tears burned Baden’s eyes. “Hey, it’s all right. [Spoilers edited out] That’s what Jesus wanted, right? For everyone to hear.”
Jason’s expression brightened for a moment. “You have more courage than I.” He clapped Baden’s shoulder. [Spoiler] “The Lord will always protect his word. [Spoiler] With or without us.”
I’m like Jason–a worrier. I’m fearful. Concern for family members and friends, orphans and world catastrophes sometime fill my mind and put a cloud over the brightness of God’s omnipotence. I’ll tell you some inside information. No matter how much time I spend worrying, my anxiety changes nothing (Luke 12:22-32).
My brother likes to repeat the quote, “When you see God panic, that’s a good time for you to panic too.” These books reminded me of that. Characters who were not seeking God and were not influenced by Christians stumbled across God’s word and were changed by it’s power. Jason had to learn to trust God in troubling situations.
I was reminded through the emotional impact of story that it’s not up to me to fix the world’s problems, get people saved, or put them on the right track. I can only follow God’s commands and pray to be His tool as He heals the wounded, saves the lost, and guides His followers along the path He set for them.
What have you learned from the books you’ve read lately?