As you know, I published my first novel, In Real Life, in May 2021. If you haven’t read it, I bet you’re thinking what’s it about? Well, it’s about an Internet shutdown, but it’s more than that. It’s about the question I always want to answer in my books, and the question most of us have been asking ourselves over the last few years: Where is the God of hope when hope is lost?
When I became interested in reading dystopian fiction, I began to wonder where God is in each story. If Winston Smith in 1984 had the mind of Christ, how would he have handled the brainwashing? If Offred and the others in A Handmaid’s Tale really grew up in a Christian society governed by the Bible, how would it have affected her prayers and given her freedom? And, from my memories of reading The Hunger Games, there are strong elements of humans trying to replace God, and then trying to usurp evil without the help of God.
In Real Life is about a woman, Lin, who isolates herself from the world. In fact, everyone in 2100 connects to others through social media, and it’s not really necessary to leave the house. But when the government shuts down the Internet, Americans are left to wonder, now what? Money is gone. Food is inaccessible. And any connections you had with your friends are no longer possible.
When I originally wrote this book, I could’ve never imagined that the real world would be going through its own shutdown at the same time. I’ve always heard of potentially bad things happening “in the future,” and I never bothered to think about them happening in my lifetime. And now that they have, I have a new hope in God and a renewed perspective of His character.
In the book, Lin winds up back at her parents’ house and eventually meets her ex-husband again. In a society that believes “we live and then we die,” the idea of God or the hope of the resurrection wasn’t even on her mind. Without spoiling too much from the book, Lin encounters God through ways we can meet Him too: testimonies, dreams, nature, and fellowship. Even when she completely hides herself from others, God reaches into her little corner of the world and gives her hope like no other.
We’re not meant to live life alone, and people can encourage us when we feel like there’s no hope. But even when we are physically alone, while living in isolation, God is with us, and He remains faithful in the midst of chaos.
So, whether you read my book or not, I want you to know that the God of hope is with you. Even when you don’t see hope on social media or on TV or in conversations with your friends, may this post remind you that the eternal God of hope has a glorious plan for this world, and nothing can stop it.
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13