Christian Themes (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
Prior to writing about Christy, Marshall underwent a spiritual crisis following the death of her first husband. She was ill for two years with tuberculosis. She sought guidance from ministers and prayer, asking questions, much as Christy does, to establish a personal connection by talking to God. Marshall developed a great joy and enthusiasm for God, writing Christy to share her deep love for and closeness to Jesus Christ, to reinforce her faith, and to help others achieve knowledge of God.
Marshall’s evangelical nature resulted in her incorporating in Christy the message that every individual, regardless of denominational or religious affiliation, can develop a personal relationship with God through prayer and trust him as a guide, seeking a deeper understanding through faith, as Christy does. Marshall hoped to help people see Jesus Christ as an approachable and genuine source of comfort and inspiration, not simply as an abstract idea.
Through her evaluation of her beliefs, Christy realizes that God gives people strength when their faith is tested and weaknesses threaten to divert them from their path. She discovers that God has a plan for each person, a design for each individual’s purpose and duties in life. Despite despair, doubts, and hardships, good prevails over evil. God answers prayers in ways most suitable for each individual, although his response may not seem appropriate initially.
Christy also finds that people’s spirituality is reflected more in how they live and how they treat others than in whether they attend church. Comparing churches, Christy notes her home church did not inspire her to the degree that mountain services and work do. Christy’s actions emphasize that God values the richness of people’s spirits, not their material wealth. Christy unselfishly tends to her neighbors, regardless of their wealth or poverty, sophistication or lack of education, discovering that those who give and share are blessed. She welcomes God’s instructions on how she can best serve her community, accepting responsibilities and being accountable to both God and her fellow human beings.
Finally, Christy learns that unconditional love is a gift from God, whether it is her altruistic affection for others or the romantic love that develops between her and Dr. MacNeill, with its potential for companionship, family, and service.