The Dawn Breaks at Midnight

Dawn Breaks Midnight

November of last year I committed myself to write a novel in spite of everything. From concept to the beginning of the first draft, I struggled to seriously take the idea of my being a writer. Life is full of complications, some ordinary, some exceedingly difficult. But I was determined to push through.

I’m three chapters in and have hit a snag. It’s not because of writer’s block. It’s quite the opposite. At this juncture, I’ve realized I need to dig deeper into my story world, flesh out my characters, and weave a back story that most likely won’t see the light of day.

I deplore outlining almost as much as writing by the seat of my pants. I’m somewhere in the middle, perhaps in the writer’s equivalent of purgatory. Writer’s block and procrastination used to be my Achille’s heel. Now it’s too much information. Information that needs to be pulled from the thick stack of books I’ve accumulated and harnessed from the chasms of my imagination.

Midnight at the Fountain of Joy, my work in progress, has been simmering on the back burner of life for nearly three weeks. That’s probably not right either. I’m pretty sure the fire went out and I’ve been inhaling gas fumes this whole time. I’ve hardly given a second thought to my writing. Until now.

A writer can only ignore her work for so long. Much like the current state of my fridge, it pulls you in whenever you open the door to take a peek inside. This time a blog post from last November, The Kingdom of Darkness as Fascade, emerged to accuse me. I wrote this about the same time I decided to put forth the effort to write a novel. Its contents had no bearing on my plot. At the time I had no idea what the story would even be about. Now rereading the post, I realize that it completely undergirds my whole storyline.

Most novels in the Christian/fantasy genre are about the battle between light and darkness. This time the message is that the darkness exists only as a facade. It is a squatter. Its villains are usurpers. The light has only to reverse course, leave its pietistic corner of defeat and take dominion over every square inch. Because the Kingdom, the entirety of it, has been given over to Christ. The battle is reclaiming rightful territory and rebuilding. The war has already been won. This is not to say that the course will be easy. Only that it is assured.

What is it that brought me out of the land of procrastination and indifference? A quote. Much like a sermon that propelled me to undertake the journey of novel writing, this quote served to correct my course:

A missionary is not a missionary until they set their ax against the root of the culture’s sacred oaks. They are not a missionary until they have issued a challenge against the central idols of that culture. A mission that only addresses the individual soul and never the society in which that soul operates is an exercise in futility. Only a comprehensive challenge, a message that proclaims Jesus Christ as LORD over everything–including rulers and powers–can win a nation for Christ.
~ Bojidar Marinov

Two things are important to address in this quote. One is that the salvation of an individual is not an insignificant thing. This is not what is meant by being an exercise in futility. Two–winning a nation for Christ occurs when individuals are won for Christ in totality.

Today my thoughts returned to this quote and in my mind, I likened the salvation of an individual to laying the foundation of Christ and erecting the framework of faith. These two elements are essential but it would make a shipwreck of Christendom to cease construction here. To leave things as is is to invite a lawless element, to allow wild animals and strays to enter in and defecate. Squatters would abound and exposure to the weather without sound shelter would ensure a lackluster faith. No, we must see to it that we have every opportunity to diligently complete our structure and apply our faith to all areas of life, down to every last frilly pillow.

We’re not empty vessels to be tossed about in the tempests of a humanistic culture. We’re here to cut down the roots of humanism, uprooting every last corrupt vestige, and plant our own. Leading others to Christ is a good and necessary thing. But it should not be our only thing.

Why do humanism and corruption abound? Is it because of its strengths? No. It is because the people, the church, have retreated and ceded ground, belonging solely to Christ, to the enemy willingly. And this is where my story enters. The kingdom of darkness is a facade. Its inhabitants are usurpers and squatters. My protagonist, Meara, is being called to illuminate the way and unite her country under the banner of the king. We would be wise to do likewise.

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Image courtesy of Karen Shaw at

Cheryl L. Stansberry

Cheryl L. Stansberry is a Christian speculative fiction writer and blogger with a desire to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and make Him beautiful and glorious in the eyes of the people.

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