How will you react when the whole world goes dark?
I don’t know about y’all, but I love a good apocalypse story. Whether it is aliens or zombies, asteroids or a more plausible, though equally terrifying, third world war, any story that pushes humanity to the brink and shines a light on the innate sin in our hearts is right up my alley. It’s a great sub-genre offering a myriad of opportunities to delve deep into the depths of the human condition. When we consider the Christian aspect, something Hollywood tends to ignore, (they must assume we’ll be the first to die) we are given an even more interesting story about how God calls Christians to act when life is on the line.
While it may not seem likely the dead will start to rise in true Hollywood zombie fashion, these types of “what-if” stories are the perfect platforms on which to discuss Christian behavior in intense situations. We get to watch as God-fearing Christians experience catastrophic events and are forced to reconcile their faith with their desire to survive. When the rest of the world is stealing, cheating, and murdering, is the Christian called to a different path of survival, even if it means putting their lives at risk? If the only law society now recognizes is survival of the fittest, is the Christian survivor still obligated to obey God’s Law? If so, how is a God-fearing Christian supposed to put this in practice when they have people relying on them?
“The Restoration Series” by Terri Blackstock tries to answer these questions and so many more. The books follow the Brannings, a Christian family of six after a catastrophic event destroys all the electronics and computers, effectively throwing them back into times before the convenience of computers, lights, and even cars. Very few people know how to survive without technology, so the longer the power stays off, the more dangerous the outside world gets as people fight for what meager supplies are left. The little neighborhood where the Brannings live can’t stay sheltered from this danger forever.
The Branning family faces many trials, both of survival and faith. In “Last Light,” book one of the series, it’s every individual for themselves as each person tries to hoard their supplies and hunker down in their homes with their blinds drawn as they wait out a power outage from an unknown source. At first the Brannings are consumed by this same fear and the selfish actions it induces, but when God moves them to reach out beyond themselves, they are forced to put their faith in God to the test and share what little they have with their equally needy neighbors. However, when a murder occurs just down the street, the neighbors turn on each other which leads to dangerous, violent allegations.
The parents struggle to come to grips with the new world as they try to keep their family safe. The Brannings are a family that most Americans can relate to: Christians in faith, but frequently putting God on the back burner when dealing with everyday life decisions. When their world is turned upside down, they turn to their Savior once more and recommit themselves to God, asking their children to do the same. The parents are the biggest force for Christ in the novels, pointing their family and the community at large toward Christ by their example. However we get to see Christ in the children's journeys as well as they slowly come to accept the new world and begin to realize they have an individual place in God's plan.
The situations and questions which arise in “The Restoration Series” are shown in a realistic, albeit dramatized, light. Each decision, each struggle is one to which every reader can relate. Even though none of us will likely ever have to personally deal with a catastrophic event of this magnitude (Lord willing), the situations in which the characters find themselves are ones that any of us could easily experience ourselves. The Brannings came into the story with a Christian background and general knowledge of Scripture, but most of what they learned and how they acted stems from their walk with Christ after their world is thrown into chaos.
“The Restoration Series” is comprised of four different novels, each one following the same family from the beginning of the catastrophe to its conclusion. Each book stands alone in its own right, but the series carries much more impact, and is a more enjoyable read, when they are read in sequence. It’s a well written, truly inspiring series and I promise you won’t be able to stop until you reach the final chapter of Dawn’s Light and find out how this good, Christian family handles a world on the verge of collapse.
The Restoration Series: Last Light, Night Light, True Light, and Dawn’s Light by Terri Blackstock