I've been thinking about this chapter recently, because I often consider writing a novel to be a fascinating metaphor for the sovereignty of God.
My life, in recent days, has been very confusing. I can not understand what God is doing with my life, my career, and my family. Some good things are happening, combined with some not-so-good things and all of it feels mysterious.
Why does God let bad things happen to good people? Why does he frustrate our plans and delay our desires?
I'm not especially good, but I do try. And it is in that trying that I reminded myself of another person who tries, and tries with all his might. The character Aaron. He's determined. He tries with all his might to attain every goal. And even so, he has blind spots. Much like myself.
He's a good person. So why do I put him through horrible trials?
The answer is simple: I need Aaron to grow. He can't stay who he is at the beginning of the book. How will he be the man Sarai needs if he stays a determined, but incompetent and emotionally fragile little boy? He can't. And so, he must suffer. Not for the sake of the pain, but for the sake of the growth which the pain can and will stir in him.
I am sovereign over Aaron and I love Aaron. I genuinely believe that he exists independently enough in some strange metaphysical space in my own head that I cannot simply make him something he is not without taking him through the journey. If I arbitrarily change his character then I make him someone else entirely and the Aaron I love ceases to exist. If he goes on the journey... He can grow and be both who he is on page one and who he is at the bottom of the final page of the final book in the Sentrus Chronicles. I look forward to getting him there and giving him his hearts desire, even as that desire grows along with him.
I have to trust that God is sovereign over me and he loves me and he wishes to first grow me into who I must become, shape my desires to what is best for me, and then give me those desires as they can do the most good. I have to trust that, despite my best efforts, God is a much better God to me than I am to Aaron.
In this week's chapter, Tem's efforts to take care of the injured artoren do further damage and both save and shatter Aaron's life all at once. And we learn the identity of the traitor.