Thursday, July 7, 2016

How God Inspires Us

By Bonnie Toews

How do some of us decide to write a novel? Was it always a passion, something we had to do? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, trying to remember.

I was a voracious reader at a very young age – read Leon Uris’ Mila 18 at ten years old. His descriptions of the Holocaust were graphic, and I identified with those Jewish souls interned in the concentration camps. In fact, the way I felt about that novel goes back to my first remembered thought as a three years old – It’s not fair! How does a child that young have such a sense of justice?

Once, when I took a children’s writing course, the instructor asked us to find the child still within us. I tried to remember how I thought when I was a child. I struggled until I developed a headache, but I couldn’t find that innocent wonderment. Everything I did had a purpose – to learn and to excel. 

Rather sad, don’t you think?

I began writing at 10 to express my private thoughts in a form of self-reflection that led to personal philosophies and beliefs. They were not diaries of what I did or who I knew, but at times they were direct conversations with God the Father, not Jesus the son. Jesus was too perfect for me to be comfortable bearing my soul in His presence. I wasn’t seeking judgment. I was seeking clarification. 

At eleven years old, I played the organ for our outlying village churches in Northern Ontario, Canada, and every Sunday, on our way to these 8 a.m. morning services, my minister and I would have very deep discussions about the contradictions I found in the Bible and about Christian teachings. This relationship forged my life-long faith and trust in God, but I continued to question the human element in relationship to God and human interpretation of God. I was troubled by the religious hypocrisy I witnessed. How could someone drink and carouse on Saturday night and go to church on Sunday for absolution? It didn’t make sense.

No one seemed to pay attention to Jesus’ simple two commandments: Love God with our whole heart, body and soul, and to love our neighbor as we do ourselves. Jesus didn’t say love your neighbor more or less, he said AS (meaning the ‘same as’) ourselves. Clearly, if we can’t first love ourselves, we can’t love others. Love is just a circle of energy that comes from God to us and through us and returns to Him. If we follow Jesus’ two commandments, there is no need to create other laws because you can’t hate and commit crimes if you live by these two principles.

When Moses brought down the Ten Commandments from the mountain, everyone believed that was all society needed to live peacefully together, but I don’t believe the Ten Commandments have worked. To me, the rituals, doctrine and organization of our churches and synagogues seem based on society’s need to create courts of law and to sanction law enforcement in order to maintain power and control over us. This is why I believe Jesus had to simplify our understanding of what the Ten Commandments were meant to achieve: How to live within the circle of Love.

This understanding surfaced while I was writing my WWII spy novel, THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR. At the time I still had not figured out who the traitor was or what the ending was going to be. I awoke one night and wrote an entire chapter. When I was finished, I suddenly realized that God had been my muse. He led me to the experiences that inspired the story.

To this day, I also believe God wrote the chapter through me. And yet, neither reader nor reviewer has ever acknowledged the message this chapter reveals. I can only believe God has His own purpose for having me write it for the readers whom He knows His message will touch.

“The specter of pearly sunbeams twirling over the altar caught her eye, and she felt protected as she watched the interchanging rays, in their own celebration of life, become a divine ring of light. God was with her. She believed it with her whole heart and soul.” ~ The Consummate Traitor, pg. 257

We’ve been taught Jesus was God’s sacrifice to save our souls. And yet, because Jesus died to save us does not mean we can simply ask for Forgiveness and do whatever we feel like without punishment. This notion is a disconnect of faith that I believe has fostered so much division in our world – from racism now rearing its ugly face more than ever to religious intolerance. Our world is in terrible turmoil.

Are these the end times the Bible promises? Many believe it is. I haven’t asked God this question. I don’t think I want to know. But, when I’ve needed God’s assurance, I have found He sends messages directly through the Bible. One of my favorite passages – BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD (Psalm 46:10) – has comforted me through many troubled times, including now as I battle cancer. God has already promised us His power of healing.

Psalm 107:19-21
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them from their distress; He sent out His word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.
Let them thank the Lord for His steadfast love,
for His wonderful works to humankind.

A retired journalist, Bonnie Toews is a veterans’ advocate, who uses fiction to bring attention to conditions she has found at the “crossroads of humanity.” In novels of wartime intrigue and suspense, she expands on true events to reveal the political betrayal of our military veterans. The first novel in her “Trilogy of Treason” – THE CONSUMMATE TRAITOR – is available at ( and on her web site (


  1. Thank you for reminding us to listen for God's words, rather than let ourselves become discouraged by world news. You remind us how we need to fight hopelessness, weariness, and hate...with love and peace. Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Sara. We are living in very unsettling times and our faith is the only thing that can carry us through.

  2. A multi-point charge in Northern Ontario -- sounds familiar. I grew up close to Thessalon. Where were you?

    1. Timmins, born in South Porcupine same as Shania Twain, then moved to Kirkland Lake when I was one-years-old. Went to Moosonee with our church's Girls Auxilliary, and hosted Moosonee girls on exchange visits. They spent much of their time in our bathroom because they were so fascinated with our toilet. Sorry to be so late in replying. Recovering from cancer has been like climbing a steep hill. For every four steps, I seem to slip back three, but I'm almost back to where I was with God and my husband as my crutches.

    2. I taught school at Roland Michener in South Porcupine! Built a house in Porcupine. Glad to hear your recover is progressing, even if it's slow.

    3. Wow, Alice!You sure don't meet too many people who even know where South Porcupine is. Hope your writing is going well. Do you have any books I can look at? Doing a lot of reading these days. (Smiles)

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