Day 7 Saturday
I'd like to end this tour by talking about two more characters in FAITH AWAKENED, by Grace Bridges. These are the two people that have come to mean the most in Mariah's life over the years, and, to preserve at least some of the story for the reader, I'm not going to give you their VR identities.
The first of these two is Naomi. When Mariah first joins the underground church or group, it is Naomi that she becomes closest friends with. It is Naomi who inspires her to stand up strong for the Awakener. It is Naomi who introduces new technology that seems to bring freedom to the people. It is Naomi who, when people thought she was going to be honored, suddenly disappears, leaving Mariah to struggle with her first great loss. Through Naomi, Grace Bridges teaches us the value of friendship, the necessity of dealing with finding and losing. For nothing in life is permanent. Yet it takes both the finding of a friend like Naomi and the losing of her to help her create her own strength or rather her own dependency on the Awakener. This is so important.
Similarly, she bonds, on a different level, with Peter. As their romance increases, so does the desperate situation surrounding them. Mariah realizes that she has again found someone she can lean on, but must give up. It is Peter who helps the small group maintain their perspective, keep things focused, and look for answers that he believes can be found. Interestingly, it is Mariah who finds these answers, seemingly by accident. Together they forge a plan to save them all. The plan is extreme, and pleasantness does not mark their progress. Yet they are after something more than pleasure, they are seeking survival. Lingering in the back of the minds of Peter and Mariah, is that it will not simply be the survival of life, but of all the hopes and joys they have shared together. This is also important.
What I have learned, although I don't pick up books with the idea I'm going to learn something, is that God gives and takes away, and both are blessings. He gives us people when we need others to help us recognize Him and His love for us. Then, quite often, God removes these same people so that we will learn to lean on Him, to know Him more fully, that we might become someone others can lean on and learn of Him. As my pastor says, “We are Jesus with skin on.” Even the historical Jesus, the man, who was also God, came and lived for a short while among the people. There were those who heard the truth in His teachings and followed Him. Then God took Jesus away. Was this to cause pain? No! It was so that our relationship with Him might be even stronger. We are told that while the physical Jesus, the one the disciples saw in the flesh, left, yet He never really left them at all. For being God Jesus was now able to be with them in ways they never thought possible. Jesus said He would be a friend that is closer than a brother. And so He is to all who believe. Although taken away in the flesh, He is alive with us in the Spirit. Also we have that great joy and hope of His return, which also is part of our Gospel. We do not serve lifeless idols or men who have died, but a Living God, who came and took on our form, that He might take death upon Himself, that we might not die. He has also put to death those sins in our lives that have condemned us in His own flesh. There is no greater show of love than that. And still, He sends us others, believers we can walk with for a time. People who will strengthen our relationship with our Savior. Then he removes them from us that we may be people to others who need that same strength, teaching them to walk in the ways of the Lord. For a story so simple and seemingly just a nice parable, FAITH AWAKENED becomes a most profound declaration of God's love for His people. Thank you Grace. It's just what I needed.
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Check out her main website at Grace Bridges – The Future is What You Make It
You won't want to miss her blog either at
Grace Bridges' Blog
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