There have only been two times in my writing life when I have known the title of a book before I started writing: And the Shofar Blew and The Masterpiece. In the case of the first, I had no idea what a shofar was or how it would play out in a story. I didn’t have any characters speaking to me. I sensed the title had to do with the church. That was all.
At the time, I was traveling and speaking and saw how churches were struggling to keep the message. Many were trying to be “seeker friendly.” Some were removing crosses from their buildings because the symbol had become offensive to the community. Others were compromising the gospel to make it more “palatable” to visitors. All this greatly disturbed me, as it has many Christians. This movement is not a new one. When we read the letters of Paul, we know it is a constant temptation to draw a crowd rather than preach the truth.
In the case of The Masterpiece, I knew the story was about an artist, specifically a graffiti artist. I saw the character as wild, broken, and acting out his angst. In the beginning, the story centered on the way graffiti helped the primary character survive his dysfunctional childhood. But as Roman Velasco began to live and whisper in my head, I realized the real story wasn’t about his work at all, but about His work.
No matter our past or our sins and many failings, God loves us. When we surrender to His will, He begins the process of turning our lives into something we could never have accomplished through our own efforts. God works from the inside out, and it is a miracle to behold.