What Harry Potter & Barbara Kingsolver Share

I loved Harry Potter the moment I started reading the books. Well… really, I loved Hermione, but Harry was fine, too. They captured me, and I couldn’t read fast enough. Thankfully, I jumped on that band wagon late, so nearly all were published by the time I started, creating an incredible reading marathon.

Barbara Kingsolver… took me a minute. I started with Poisonwood Bible, but didn’t finish. It was a slow start. When I was advised to “give her 300 pages,” I scoffed. I refused to give an author 300 PAGES to gain my interest. But then I read The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven, and I absolutely knew it would be worth any wait. True to form, Poisonwood Bible is one of the best books I’ve read.

So clearly, their commonality does not lie in my initial reaction to these books. And obviously, one is an author and one is a main character, so already my comparison is breaking down.

What I love about Harry and Barbara is that not one detail is wasted.

A stray comment in Chapter 3 comes back around in Chapter 19 in ways you never could have imagined, shedding game-changing light on the situation at hand. Every. Single. Time. I am in awe of the writers’ abilities to thread such thorough and clean details throughout the story.

I want life to provide similar, satisfying closure.

You may find me ridiculous, but I don’t want to waste days, months, or years living details that have no real purpose in the story. The problem is that I can’t always see the significance in the midst of discouraging details. Lately, the prayer of my heart has been Psalm 13 (NLT):

O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?

Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.

But I trust in your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.

Now I recognize that no situation in my life is the same as being chased by a king, and I am thankful that no one is trying to kill me. Still, I can relate to that sense of silence from the Lord when circumstances feel urgent for an answer. And sometimes I feel like I’m living inside details that do not relate to the storyline.

However, Romans 8 tells me that “the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along… He knows us far better than we know ourselves… and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. God knew what he was doing from the very beginning” (v 26-29 The Message).

So I must continue to trust in Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. And one day I expect to marvel at His story crafting skills that does not overlook even one, single detail.

Where do you find encouragement when the details of your circumstances seem so far from where you feel God has called you? Where have you seen God use situations from your past, which may have seemed wasted at the time, to bring purpose and clarity to your present?


  1. Anonymous12:56 PM

    Sarah, you're awesome and Miranda and I love you...and Billy and Ella.

  2. Thanks so much, Shane. Yes, even when you're anonymous... :)


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