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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

POV

Point Of View – whose eyes are we looking through? A writer using it well has the beginnings of a masterpiece. Apply POV unwisely, however, and you have an insurmountable distraction that could destroy a story.

Now, some of my favorite books are what you call “classics” – Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, A Room with a View – Austen, Dickens, Forester, respectively. So when I started writing novels, I followed their example.

But guess what?!?

They had POV all wrong! They did what today’s experts despise – they “head-hopped.” One second we hear the heroine’s thoughts about the hero, and in the next paragraph we hear the hero’s thoughts about the heroine. Back then, I guess that was okay. But, nowadays, it’s a titanic NO-NO.

So I learned my lesson. I’m particularly sensitive to Point Of View when I’m writing.

But now I’m also aware of it while I’m reading. And I’m so glad because while reading about Daniel in the Old Testament (sorry, just can’t get away from it right now!), POV highlighted an important aspect of the story that, honestly, I’d never considered before.

Daniel is a book of prophecy, some of which has already come to pass and some is yet to be. It’s a sweeping look of history and kingdoms and God’s plan for mankind. It works with the last book of the Bible, Revelations, to tell us what’s happening and why.

Deep stuff that I tend to skim over even though it is important.

Instead, I read Daniel to marvel at God’s amazing acts of deliverance – allowing Daniel to interpret dreams so he didn’t get executed, saving Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fiery furnace, and protecting Daniel when Darius fed him to the lions. I find encouragement in the fact that God saved His people in impossible situations, because I know He can do that for me too. When I find myself in a pinch or disappointment or danger, I can remember Daniel and his friends and feel hope.

Yet, when I read again the story of Daniel spending the night with a room full of lions, I noticed something new.

The story is written from King Darius’ point of view.

Why? If this is a story about Daniel being saved from the lethal jaws of hungry, meat-eating predators?

But we don’t even go into the den with Daniel. It’s sealed off and we don’t know what happens to him, or how he’s feeling, or how God delivers him. Instead, we follow Darius to his chambers where he fasts all night, refusing his normal entertainment (we can only imagine what that means) and worries that his friend will be delivered.

Then I remember, we didn’t follow Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the furnace either. We watched through King Neb’s eyes as the miracle unfolded. So we don’t know how the boys were feeling or what they were thinking or what they talked about with the angel accompanying them in the fire.

Why? When we’re the faithful followers of God trying to walk in the steps of the saints before us would He not give us an inside look into their circumstances from their POV?

Of course, I’m no theologian, but this is what occurred to me.

The stories are not about Daniel or Shadrach or Meshach or Abednego.

They are about the kings and how they came to glorify the One True God.

The entire point of these stories is that these kings ended up honoring and following God.

So, it’s about repentance, salvation, a life redeemed from sin, imprisoned hearts set free by the grace, power and majesty of God.

Wait a second!! That means, when I face impossible situations, fiery furnaces and lions’ dens, it’s not about me – it’s about someone who needs to see the glory of God so that they might believe in Him.

Wo. Talk about a shift in my POV.

I just hope I can remember that the next time I face a crisis.

For the record, I’m not saying God doesn’t care what happens to us in the furnace or den – of course He does! He loves us! But His purposes go way beyond our comfort. He has confidence enough in our faith in Him that He uses us to show off His mighty power so that others will see and believe.

Now, that sort of sounds likes a… privilege.

Love you, Dry Ground family! Have a blessed day!

(photos by photobucket.com)

2 comments:

lynnrush said...

Nicely said.

Love that picture of the eye there at the top.

KM Wilsher said...

Beautiful. Very encouraging this morning. We sure have a common thread. Always seem to be reading the same scriptures at the same time. . .Soul, spirit, sisters :0)

However, you always bring fresh ideas and emotions out of what I read, thanks Lori!