Updated: Jan 22, 2021
As far back as I can remember, I have always loved stories. When I was eight years old, my friends and I would hide behind the church building in Montgomery, Alabama, and tell each other scary stories. One time, I was in the throes of one of our tall tales that no one noticed that night had fallen. While I don't remember the actual story that was told, I remember the neighbor's cat jumping onto a limb that was not strong enough to hold her weight. The branch snapped, scaring the living daylights out of all of us. Ten eight years ran into the church, scared out of our minds. It was then that I knew that stories have great power.
As storytellers, authors sometimes bog themselves down in the creative piece of storytelling without understanding the tremendous impact a story can have. I also remember growing up, that I would have a bad day at school, and too embarrassed to talk to my parents about it, I would bury my sorrows in a book and escape to the magical land of Narnia or Middle-Earth. At times, it was as though God placed the right story in my hands that spoke to me about what I was going through. I especially liked books with an orphan or an adopted child as a character because I was adopted. Even though the characters were fiction, I could relate to their struggles, rejoice in their triumphs, and process my feelings vicariously through these characters.
These fictional characters gave me hope that I, too, could overcome my struggles. Years later, when my wife and I were going through a divorce, I turned to books again, but this time I also turned to write a story. Through the context of the story, I found that I once again could process the pain and struggles I was experiencing by developing these characters. For years I never let anyone read these stories. They were too personal. But then I realized that God had something to say to me about keeping these stories locked up.
He was telling me that one day would I write a story that would lead others to him. Little did I know that story would be performed at our church, and people would see the message and hope through the son of a thief who longed to know his father. The Musical Yeshua's Thief was an instant hit, and people loved hearing about the broken family who found redemption at the foot of the cross. That musical is now being published as a novel, and I pray it finds the right people who can relate to growing up with a stigma. People from imperfect families need to know that God has a purpose for their lives. More importantly, I hope it points people to the greatest of storytellers. Jesus Christ!