The Word for Writers
by Cathy Powell
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By Cathy Powell
The goal of every Christian or inspirational writer is to pen words that will make a difference in the life of the reader. We aim to share the thoughts, insights and revelations that we have received, to relay meaningful learning experiences, to challenge the reader to stretch and grow. Our words are meant to provoke an unbeliever to examine his living in the light of the love of Christ and the requirements of a holy God that he or she might seek to change the course of his or her life. This is no mean task. How often do we as writers sit in the presence of God, listening, receiving His thoughts and taking time to pull out our notepads and journals to capture the new truths that He elaborates to us? When we sit before our computer screens, prepared now to transcribe these thoughts into meaningful paragraphs, it sometimes feels as if those truths have lost some of their impact. But the writer within almost always prevails. Indeed, we are not just receptacles of the wisdom of the Lord; we are ready scribes, poised to deliver the message of God in a timely, powerful word.
No, it is not the transcription that stumps us. How are we to receive the words that will inspire, uplift and bring deliverance to the reader? How may we whet the appetite of the one who comes to dine at our table? How do we lead the thirsty to the spring to drink of the living waters? Does it mean that we must be the most learned and trained student in the discipline of writing? Does it require a degree in Literary Arts or clever journalistic skills? While all of these may be valid requisites for the one who would make his living or even his avocation in Christian writing the greatest need is a learning heart and a teachable spirit.
Individuals who don the garb of the inspirational writer may begin from any of a number of backgrounds. There are those who are born into Christian families with a nuclear relationship construction, having strong parents, and a firm church life tradition. These have heard the word of God from a young age and, hopefully, have seen evidence of faith in God modeled before them as a natural part of everyday life. Others come to know him through the witness of a school friend or fellow employee or neighbor; they have lived their lives as ordinary work-a-day citizens until the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ is allowed to shine upon them. Still others have traveled laboriously up the rough side of the mountain, experiencing difficulties, dysfunction and despair. They have been snatched from the fire, ransomed and rescued by the love of God.
Whatever the beginning, we have pondered the glimmers of light which we have been shown and have desired to share that light with someone else struggling in darkness; either the lost sinner entirely shrouded by the night of sin or the fellow Christian needing more illumination along the sometimes convoluted journey to the finish line of the Christian race.
There is absolutely no way to be an effective Christian writer without first having had genuine experiences of encounters with the living God. One cannot write with the hope to inspire based only upon theological training, years of study or sheer intelligence. Time must be spent in the school of life, going from class to class, and learning first of God’s love and mercy, and then of His faithfulness, then of His power to sustain, then of all there is to know in the deep vastness of the wisdom of God. Yes, Time is the teacher. Time insists upon indulging its lessons upon the Christian writer to give authenticity to his words that they ring not with the sound of a clashing cymbal.
Have you ever read the words of a writer that leave you empty, your thirst unquenched, your senses unmoved? There may be imagery, interesting events; you may be taken to a place to which you’ve never been, maybe to a childhood town or foreign land, but when you arrived there you found no treasure, no desire to explore, no adventure. Perhaps the writer has shared with you the results of hours of research and study; maybe he has delved into the origins of words and offered a careful rendering of biblical events from the past? But what is the application? What does it all mean? You ask yourself, “Where do I go from here?”
It is the numerous untoward and hurtful events in our lives which perform the chiseling… At first, we are overwhelmed and encumbered by the weight of painful and grievous happenings; our hearts are full of anxiety. Then, Time, the great teacher an eternal God can generously afford to employ for His children, begins his lesson. Strong and skillful hands point to the character on the chalk board showing us God is involved in our events, He is in control, and He is in this. His discipline, comfort and instruction continue chiseling as the events merge into one picture of the Face in the mirror where we may now look and see Him.
Jesus invited us to, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…” Matthew 11:29a KJV. This is the true learning that we now, as accomplished students are able to transfer; these are lessons we learned under the yoke… It is a crash course, not because the lessons are quickly learned-though we must learn them first or how can we impart them-but our lessons are learned vehemently, decisively, definitively, the unmistakable tone and tutelage of the master teacher clearly marked upon us, within us. We learn, or else we have nothing to say. Unless we have consumed to the dregs the cup offered to us by the hand of the Lord, our tongue and pen will not be ready. The words may come forth, not moving, spreading briskly across the page flowing with understanding and enlightenment, but they will be stunted, interrupting the very wisdom they seek to impart.
Remember the goal we stated up front, to make a difference in the life of the reader. Indeed, we are to, “…reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine…” 2 Timothy 4:2KJV we have the privilege and responsibility to communicate to others that which we have heard in the guest chamber.
The word of God which we wish to convey is a bright and shining light in which we ourselves bask, even as we arrange the goose necked lamp light onto the pages of life for another to see his path more clearly. David said, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalms 119:71KJV Time and affliction are the duel instructors in the crash course that we inspirational writers must take. The brilliant clarity we receive upon completion of lesson after lesson enables us to write, with the same clarity, so that others may benefit from God’s wonderful truths.
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