Picture a cute little penguin in a red ball cap, carrying a blue lunch box. This is Petra, a character I created for one of my children’s books. I sent him on an adventure, during which his encounters include an octopus searching for eight shoes, a juggling walrus with only one tusk, and a giggling pirate.
What if one day, as I was reading over this story, Petra decided to offer some feedback? What if he jumped off the page, turned to me, opened his beak, and out came the following:
“Hey, why do I have to wear a red hat? I really prefer orange. And what’s with the lunch of three fish? You couldn’t have made it five? Why is it that I have to meet those pirates? I was really scared for a minute there. What’s up with that walrus anyway? She’s so annoying! Couldn’t you have given me easier friends to be around? Oh, and this igloo I travel in is a bit small, and a skylight would have been nice. What were you thinking when you wrote all this?”
I imagine my response would go something like this:
“Seriously? I created you. I’m the author. Who are you to question me? I have the right to do whatever I want with your story. I didn’t even have to provide you with a lunch. I could have let those pirates eat you instead of laugh with you and give you treasure. I could make you swim your entire journey instead of giving you a nice igloo and iceberg for your travels. Besides, I knew how I wanted your story to end before I even wrote one word, and knew the best situations to craft to get you there. Most importantly, don’t you realize I could have chosen to not create you at all? Or, even now, I could hit that delete key and say goodbye to Petra. I won’t though, because I love your character, and want to share you with others, and even write additional books about more adventures. I have not given up on you, and continue to shape your story and submit you to publishers, despite the heartache from rejection letters. I believe you are worth it. Wouldn’t it be awesome if children read about you, grew to love you, and your stories made me the household name Dr. Seuss is? My perspective from out here is a bit bigger than yours. Try to remember who’s the pen and who’s the penguin. Remember, I can do all this, because it’s actually my story, not yours.”
I’m thankful for this insight into our relationship with the Lord. How quick are we to question our creator, the author of our salvation? How quick are we to doubt His goodness? Question his methods? Complain about his writing? God, please forgive us for our pride, our self-righteousness, our self-centeredness, our doubt. Help us seek your glory as you write our story. Thank you for speaking to this writer in a way she can understand. Help us all remember:
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. Hebrews 12:2
And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, Hebrews 5:9
See also Job 38-41
4 thoughts on “When the Penguin Talks Back”
Nice! Spot on, in my opinion. Thanks for the insight. As products of a prosperous culture which strongly emphasizes individualism and independence, I think many of us really struggle with this concept. Makes me think of 2 Cor 4:7.
Plus, I like penguins. 🙂