Recently I read a novel (written by an Indiana author) because I was curious. It was historical and set in Indiana. I fancy myself an amateur historian, and thought it would be an interesting read. Since I'm also a novelist-in-training, I wanted to learn what good writing looks like. I didn't expect to learn much more than writing style, POV (point of view) techniques, conflict, scene - you know, all that novel-ly stuff we're supposed to learn on our dream road to publication. If I enjoyed the story, it would be a bonus. I expected little else.
I don't think God necessarily cooks like Emeril Lagasse. But once in awhile he gets my attention in a similar way. Silly me, to think reading a novel was all about the story (and other novel-ly things).
For days after I read this book, there were certain words I found myself pondering. I found myself whispering prayers to God in regard to some of the spiritual principles entwined in the fabric of the story.
I realized that pondering on these truths was exactly the type of spiritual experience I want my readers to have when reading what I write. Stories come and go. God's Word remains (1 Peter 1:25).
Even more than asking for God's inspiration when creating twists and turns in a story, I need His Holy Spirit guidance and anointing to convey His Word. It's my passion to change lives with the writing He inspires. But for some reason it surprised me to be influenced this deeply by a "mere" novel.
Writing isn't about me. It's not about me getting my name out there, or being someone well-known. It's not about awards and money. Those things are nice by-products to be sure. But as a Christian writer, my writing is a tool God can use to reach people and help them overcome their struggles with the enemy. While typing out each phrase, I pray that God will continue to anoint my "hands to make war and my fingers to fight" (Psalm 144:1). This will only happen if I'm in tune with His Word, listening for His voice, and spending time with Him.
People need to hear what God is saying. He employs writers to convey His message. If Christian writers don't convey God's Word in their writing - who will? (Romans 10:14.) What a privilege to think that the author of all things could possibly use my feeble efforts for His purpose. (Lest I get proud of being used by God, I remember that God can use a donkey to speak through if He has to. Remember Balaam?)
This is why we must persevere in our writing efforts. Whether writing a letter, article, or blogging, we have opportunities to share Truth with our readers. God has placed a dream of writing in us for His purposes. He knows what He's doing. We just have to trust Him.
For those of us just beginning our writing journey, if we're never paid or recognized for words we write, we can be sure of even greater rewards in heaven. Meeting people whose lives were changed for eternity by our words will be reward enough.
What novels have you read lately that impressed on your heart some spiritual truths? Let me know, so I can read them, too!