“A book of hope in troubled times.” That was the last sentence of a lovely endorsement for my second novel, Dead Man’s Watch, by fellow author Debbie Burke. Debbie is an accomplished writer and a woman with a considerable amount of common sense, so I was deeply touched by her comments.
The theme of the book, “Saving one life is like saving the whole world,” is a paraphrase of a statement from the Jerusalem Talmud. I came up with the idea after a particularly meaningful Torah study where we discussed the Genesis account of the life of Joseph.
Joseph’s life, of course, was remarkable. Hated by his brothers for his status in the family, he’s sold into slavery and experiences further humiliation in Egypt, resulting in his being confined to prison. Years later, Joseph is released from jail and designated by Pharaoh to organize a system that would save the known world from starvation.
But our discussion in Torah study centered not only on the incredible talent and endurance of Joseph, but also on his brother Judah. When the brothers plotted to kill Joseph, Judah suggested they sell him to a passing group of Ishmaelites instead. Judah saved Joseph’s life, and Joseph saved the world from a terrible famine.
When Joseph was a young man, he must certainly have thought he knew what the future held for him. After all, he was his father’s favorite, and he had literally dreamed of family members bowing down to him. I can only imagine the frustration and disappointment he felt when he landed in Egypt as a slave.
Perhaps we can extend this lesson into our own time.
The year 2020 was a time of unexpected disaster. I’ve heard many people say their goals and plans for the year were destroyed by the pandemic. The loss of their dreams produced fear, anger, and disillusionment.
But hope can take root in any terrain. Joseph remained faithful in tragic circumstances and did the best job he could. Even when Potiphar’s wife made the situation doubly worse and Joseph landed in prison, he didn’t lose faith. He persisted with the hope that God would rescue him from his trials. And what a rescue it turned out to be!
But let’s not forget the role Judah played. If it hadn’t been for him, his more violent brothers may have had their way. Judah’s intervention paved the way for Joseph’s remarkable story.
Now here we are at the beginning of the year 2021, and none of us knows how it will play out. We can assume that all is lost, or we can know that God is in control and we are His willing servants. Like Joseph, we can do the best we can and face each day with our hearts tuned to the One in charge.
And as authors, we can offer hope to a suffering world by following God’s commandments and praying for His guidance. If He gives us a story to tell, we write it even if we don’t know what its impact will be. And then we wait to learn what He had in mind all along.
My writing goal in 2021 is to finish the third book in my cozy mystery series. With God’s grace, I trust it will result in a better world.
Kay DiBianca is a bestselling author who loves to create literary puzzles in the mystery genre for her readers to solve. Her characters come to life as they struggle to solve murders and create relationships amidst the ongoing themes of faith and family. Her first novel, The Watch on the Fencepost, won an Illumination Award for General Fiction and an Eric Hoffer Award for Mystery. The second book in the Watch series, Dead Man’s Watch, was released in September 2020.
Kay is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime. An avid runner, she can often be found at a nearby track, on the treadmill, or at a large park near her home. Her background in software development fuels her fascination with puzzles and mysteries, and her dedication to running helps supply the endurance and energy she needs to write about them!
Kay and her husband, Frank, live, run, and write in Memphis, Tennessee.
You can connect with Kay through her website at https://kaydibianca.com.