NICK EICHER, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: a preview of this week’s edition of The Olasky Interview podcast.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: WORLD Editor-in-Chief Marvin Olasky talks with author Min Jin Lee. Her book Pachinko was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction as well as a New York Times bestseller. The conversation is before a student audience in 2018.
OLASKY: So, health problems, financial problems, you write a first novel and it’s turned down. You write a second novel and you decide it’s no good. You only have two hours of energy a day and you’re devoting that to Sam rather than to your writing. Are you starting to say at this point, well, “why me, Lord?”
MIN: I think that I’m the kind of gal who says “why me?” Lord, all the time and “why now?” or “why not now?”
OLASKY: So let’s say you are Jacob wrestling with God and you wrestle a lot and then what happens?
MIN: I lose every time. I mean, that’s the problem because if you believe it’s God, capital “G,” it’s not an equal relationship. Most people think God is really angry. I think of God as being very humored by us and tolerates us, kind of like the way we look at puppies trying to move furniture.
That’s kind of the way I think God looks at us. It’s like, “Isn’t that cute? That puppy cannot move that sofa, and the puppy is really mad at the sofa. Isn’t that adorable?” I feel like that’s who God is to me a bit.
OLASKY: We had a three year old who was trying out his strength and carried a bucket of paint essentially all the way across the room, on carpet, leaving a trail behind, but it was very impressive that he did that, and so this is how God looks at us. “Oh, this is cute.” It’s a cute pet trick in some ways.
MIN: And also with the paint it’s ruining everything.
OLASKY: But you still believe?
MIN: Oh, yeah. I made a decision. It’s kind of like, for me, this is it. I’m in it.
OLASKY: You don’t say “I quit” basically because God doesn’t quit on us.
MIN: I am convinced. I feel very convinced, for me, that this is what I believe.
OLASKY: And you’re ready Hosea now. God tells Hosea, “Marry the prostitute.”
MIN: I always thought, wow. What an interesting thing. What an interesting idea and it’s troubling. It’s very, very troubling. So I like that book. It’s a weird book. It’s very, very short. You can read it in like 30 minutes.
OLASKY: So God composes very interesting stories.
MIN: I mean, I always think about God being a writer because the Word is so important, and whenever I’m in this whole publishing word, I think, well, God is a writer and He’s a publisher and He kind of gets it. He’s an editor and all those things. I wonder what God thinks about my little troubles. I hope that He can give me a break.