Twenty years ago, when I was writing that book, I ran across an article about the lead singer of a rock group who had a scary near-death encounter that convinced him of the reality of Christianity. I WISH I had kept that article because I don’t remember who that was. But when I saw it, I knew I had Sammy’s conversion scene and the basis for his resuscitation at the end of the book.
An early reviewer of SDD objected that this ending is unbelievable. If it is, that is only because of my clumsy treatment of it. The actual occurrence of people “awakening” from a state of apparent death is much more common than we realize:
Dead 3-year-old girl wakes up at her own funeral
Mississippi man, declared dead, wakes up in a body bag
Okay, you say, but those cases did not involve violent trauma. That’s a fair point. So:
George Rodonaia, a Soviet dissident, was declared dead after a hit-and-run by the KGB. His body was stored in a vault for three days until being brought out for the autopsy. As the surgeon began to cut into him, he woke up.
Then there’s the British teen who “came back from the dead” after suffering severe injuries in a multiple-vehicle car accident.
There are many more examples, but you get the point. While we may question the interpretations that people attach to these phenomena, the fact remains that mysterious resuscitations do occur. As a Christian, I ascribe them to the power of God working beyond our understanding. Even the New Testament describes a similar phenomenon following Jesus’ crucifixion.
As a storyteller, I applied this working of God first to Sammy, then to Adair. When I first wrote SDD, I didn’t attribute his reviving to Streiker because I didn’t make the connection at the time. Sammy’s resuscitation is just the beginning of his relationship to Christ/Streiker. But Adair, already married to Fletcher, is empowered to move and act with great freedom in carrying out her Husband’s purposes.
I have a lot more to say about the analogy in If Only for This Life, but this post is already too long. Bear with me; future posts will explain:
Why I quoted Catholic examples in the early chapters, and
How I view the Streiker/Christ analogy when both figures are mentioned in the story.