Have you ever read a “non-Christian” fiction book that contained spiritual truths that blew you away? That’s what Lois Lowry’s book “Son”, did to me. This isn’t a plug for her books, but I cannot stop thinking about what was so eloquently and profoundly depicted. (Spoiler alert!)
Gabe is the son of Claire. He was taken from her at birth. She spends most of the book trying to find her son. She is finally close to finding him, and has to make a trade with the evil Trademaster, to enter the community he is in. She trades her youth for entry. Trademaster only accepts trades of things that are personal to you (ie. Youth, humor, character, intelligence). Trademaster has bargained with many, and many people have given up much of who they are for something they either needed or wanted. Gabe finally learns that Claire is his mom, but their time is about to be cut short because she is on her death bed. Gabe must go fight Trademaster to restore his mother’s youth.
Gabe is the only one that can do it because he has a special gift. He is able to feel what others are feeling. Trademaster is always lurking close by the village. Gabe only has to cross the river to meet the evil man. Gabe is blown away by the pure ugliness Trademaster exudes. Gabe doesn’t want to kill anyone. He doesn’t know if he is strong enough. Trademaster knows that Gabe cannot take his life. He decides to use his gift. He gets into Trademaster’s head. Trademaster is hungry; he is starving. This is why he is lurking by the river. It positions him close enough to his victims to see their misery and pain. This is what feeds him. He is fueled by other’s suffering.
What does Gabe do with this information? He uses it to kill Trademaster. He begins to tell him about the lives of the people he has traded with. This one woman is doing great. Another man is doing well. This other person is thriving. Each time Gabe tells Trademaster of the positive outcome of a person that should be suffering, Trademaster dies a little more each time. Finally, Gabe delivers the final blow, and Trademaster is dead!
The verse that immediately came to me, when reading this, is Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Maybe this is what Paul meant when he penned this. We spend so much time “fighting”, when maybe all we need to do is stand and say, “no, you meant this for evil, but thanks to the blood of Jesus, we are doing just great!” It even reminds me of Genesis 50:20 which talks about Joseph after his ordeal, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”
What if, instead of taking a fighting posture, we took a posture of standing? Ephesians 6:13 “13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” What if instead of “fighting evil” we took a position of perfect rest? It’s so important that a whole chapter in Hebrews is dedicated to it. Hebrews 4:1 says, “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.”
What would it look like if this is how we overcame evil with good?