One of my favorite parts of reading has always been the foreshadowing. I love trying to figure out how a story will end. And when it ends, I love going back to read through and see if I missed any foreshadowing the first time around. This is one of the many reasons I love Harry Potter; each time I read it I find a new piece of evidence. I especially love that while a lot of the surprises were foreshadowed, it was only looking back through that I could piece everything together. When an author effectively uses foreshadowing, reading becomes a series of puzzle pieces that fit together almost too perfectly. But this only happens when you look back on things, because it goes with the story so perfectly that you don’t notice this.
Of course, on the other hand, I hate reading a book where the foreshadowing is bumpy and easy to spot. You know, the book that’s so predictable it’s impossible to read. You can always guess what is going to happen. I love Star Wars, and one of the biggest reveals in the series is that Darth Vader is Luke’s son. Prior to the release of The Last Jedi (spoilers ahead, just an FYI), a lot of people were speculating who Rey’s parents were going to be. The Star Wars formula would have suggested that she was the daughter of someone important. As I sat in that theater, watching the movie, I was almost fed up with the foreshadowing. They were building up to something that could never top what everyone was expecting. And then, they did the exact opposite of what everyone thought. Suddenly, their seemingly shoddy foreshadowing became one of the greatest fake-outs. It was a brilliant way to satisfy fans, while not being cliché. I loved this.
As I write, I try to be cognizant of my use of foreshadowing. As much as I love it, I only love it when it is done well. And, with this series, it is tricky. I want to foreshadow things in my series. But, I want a lot of surprises too. I want my readers to think they know what is coming, only to find out that they were completely wrong. Then, I want them to go back and reread. I want them to realize it was there from the beginning, just waiting to be found. Foreshadowing is a great tool that authors can use. But it can also be the death of a lot of stories. Writing and trying to effectively weave foreshadowing together has been one of the most challenging tasks. But I love the challenge, and I hope my readers will love the results.
“If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else – your father and mother, spouse and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26
This is an interesting verse in the Bible. Does God not call us to love others? Well, He does. And this verse isn’t an excuse to be antisocial, or to hate people who annoy us. There’s that little bit “by comparison” that changes the whole meaning of the verse. As Christians, we are called to love everyone. But we are called to love God so much more than everyone else. Crazy, right? Not so much. In fact, this verse probably has in mind one of the famous Old Testament patriarchs.
God established a covenant with Abraham in the Bible, that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. It was through Abraham that God established Israel. But before any of that, there was a man named Abraham who was old, and whose wife was barren. There was a heartbroken man named Abraham who just wanted a son. In fact, he wanted a son so much, that his wife told him to sleep with her servant because God’s plan was taking too long for them. Then, there was a man named Abraham who had a son through his wife’s servant. And finally, God gave Abraham a son through Sarah. Then, because of Sarah’s anger, Abraham had to send his wife’s servant, and their son, away. It whittled down to just one child who would start God’s great nation. It must have sucked when God asked Abraham to sacrifice that one son. Was this not God going back on their covenant? Yet, Abraham goes up to the mountain, and intends to follow through when God stops him.
Do you think God would have sacrificed His own son had Abraham not intended to sacrifice his own son? I am reminded of a story just four chapters prior in Genesis 18, whether Abraham intercedes for Sodom. He asks God if God would save the city of Sodom if just 50 people were righteous, then 45, and so forth all the way down to just 10 people. And God agrees that if there were just 10 righteous people in Sodom, He would save it. While God does not find even 10 righteous people in Sodom, and does destroy it, the righteous person he did find is Lot. And God saved Lot’s family (okay, admittedly, Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt but she was told not to look back). To some degree, I wonder if this is God’s logic when it came to the world. If He could find just one person righteous enough that they were willing to sacrifice their son for Him, then He would sacrifice His for the world. If just one person could show God that the people He created to be a part of His family weren’t a lost cause, He would save them. And, when Abraham was willing to do it, it foreshadows the most loving action in the world.
Doesn’t that sound bizarre? If it does, maybe think about giving Genesis another look through, because it isn’t the first time God has done this. Only 6 chapters into the Bible, God sees the extent of human wickedness. He sees the evil that people can do. He is ready to wipe out everything and start all over again. Then, there’s this random righteous guy named Noah, and God kinda likes him. So God sends a flood, but He saves Noah’s family. It just takes one person, each time, to change the course of events. In fact, it only took one person, the Son of Man, to live a life free of sin, to die on a cross, and to resurrect for the earth’s salvation. I love the sacrifice God was willing to make for us. It was His own son. And even as far back as this, He had plans to do it. I think it’s funny that no one really saw it coming. Even in the beginning, He had a plan for our future. But it wasn’t until that part of the story had passed that we could take a step back and see just how obvious His plan was. There is no better author than God.
Who But You by Mark Hall (Ft. Megan Garrett)
“So call me crazy, call me a fool
You alone can do the things You promised to
You are Yahweh, I’m just a man
I’m counting tiny grains of sand
Placing every promise in Your hand.”