Photo credit: Shewanda Riley

By Shewanda Riley

A few years ago, I saw Stranger than Fiction, a pleasantly surprising movie starring Will Ferrell as IRS auditor Harold Crick who leads a fairly uneventful life. One day, he hears a female voice describing his life.  Harold is genuinely annoyed because he is the only one who hears the voice and also because the voice appears to know things that have happened as well as things that are going to happen.

He then gets alarmed when he hears the voice (turns out to be the author of a novel) say that he is going to die a sudden death as a way of ending the latest novel.  For the remainder of the movie, Harold’s goal is to stop the voice from ending his life.  In the end, Harold’s pleas seemingly have an impact on the author’s decision on how to end her novel.

I knew when I saw the previews for the movie that I’d want to see it for one reason: I think it is a good illustration of what some Christians feel they experience in building an authentically intimate relationship with God.

In a very strange twist, Harold, a character in a novel, meets the author face to face.  As a movie goer, you have to suspend your logic for a moment and believe that a fictional character can meet their creator.  Harold’s attitude was good as long as he could plead his case to the author, hoping somehow, she’d change her mind about the story.  He’s quite persistent as he seeks her out and then passionately talks to her about her story outline. She listens to him, but still ultimately makes the final decision on his fate. It turns out to be one that they are both pleased with.

It wasn’t called grace by the actors, but the movie was a good illustration of God’s grace being able to change desperate circumstances. Harold’s pleas reminded me of how we are told that we can go boldly to God with any issue. Yet, how many of us limit ourselves in what we take to God in prayer because we are fearful, ashamed, or full of pride? Ephesians 4:16 says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

However, we should not wait until things get desperate for us to reach out to God.  Unlike in the movie where Harold had to seek out the reclusive author, we don’t have to search in desperation for God. As simple at it sounds, he’s always waiting for us.  Most of the time, we have to move back into position through prayer, praise, and worship to reconnect with God’s life-changing grace.  Our relationship with God must go beyond being stranger than fiction….it must be stronger than fiction and strengthened by faith.

Shewanda Riley (Aunt Wanda), PhD, is a Fort Worth-based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”   Email her at or follow her on Twitter @shewanda. Find out more about her new podcast “The Chocolate Auntie Podcast” at