There’s this thing that authors aren’t supposed to do. A deadly thing. So deadly they put it in a foreign language.
It’s called deus ex machina. It literally means “god from the machine” a term used for the part in Greek and Roman plays when a “god” would descend into the middle of the play and fix everything to make happily ever after happen. The dictionary definition is “an unexpected power or event saving a seemingly hopeless situation, especially as a contrived plot device in a play or novel”.
It’s basically Tip Number One to Cheat Your Way Out of Creating an Actual Plot. (Read this excellent post by K.M. Weiland talking about this further.)
One time, I was hopelessly stuck in a castle, so I pulled out a random ally to help them and voila! They were out. Well, deus ex machina. I’ll be fixing that with some foreshadowing and a little more effort on the part of the protagonist.
I have a problem though. I do want God in my story. I don’t want the protagonist to humanistic-ly solve his own problems. I want Him to do something only He can do to create that happily ever after. I want miracles, surprises, healing, and changed hearts.
But if the hero doesn’t save the day, aren’t I committing the aforementioned, scary Latin thingy?
Nope. Because my God doesn’t come from a machine. He’s in the story the whole time. Sometimes He’s very visible. Sometimes He’s working so far in the background, the characters might wonder where He is. But when they call on Him, He answers. He’s there with healing, hope, protection, forgiveness, justice, and mercy.
He’s no random character that comes in just to fix everything at the last second. He’s in the main cast. The Director, actually. 😉