Do you ever wonder if the hours, days, weeks, and years you spend at your computer arranging words is making any difference whatsoever in the grand scheme of life? I do.
Since 1989, I’ve spent much of my time writing fiction. A lot of people don’t understand what I do, or why, but I keep writing because I think that’s what God has called me to do. In all those years, I’ve written lots of short pieces but only six books (four currently published). But does it make my world better? Does it leave a legacy for anyone besides my immediate family?
Life as a writer can be challenging for a number of reasons:
– being misunderstood by friends and neighbors
– spending an incredible amount of time writing a story to be read in a few hours
– not making anywhere near the money people make at a “normal” job
– too much sitting / possible carpal tunnel syndrome / squint lines, etc.
But recently, I heard something that made me recommit my writing life to God. I attended a denominational conference at which I met some friends I hadn’t seen in years. A man we’ll call Paul approached me and said, “I’d like to thank you for your books, especially the first one.” People have said this before and I thank them humbly because I’m well aware of my inadequacies as a writer.
Paul went on to say he had given my first book to a senior friend whose life was headed in a bad direction. This man, a member of a much-maligned people group, identified with the disparaged Russian peasants in my historical novel. Not only that, but he came back to Paul and asked, “What kind of ceremony do I have to go through to be saved?”
This is where I choked up. A lost man felt the call of Christ through one of my books. If just one person has been brought into the kingdom of God, then all the time, misunderstanding, lack of income, and any new lines on my face were worth it. In actual fact, it was not my words that reached Paul’s friend. It was the Spirit of God working through the simple efforts of a willing writer.
We may be discouraged by our meager efforts, but God is not. He asks for our obedience, our commitment. “God does not call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” I’ve used that quote before and will use it again.
So keep writing. Stay in relationship with Christ and keep setting those thoughts into words. There are challenges in any kind of work, and you never know the result of your obedience in the lives of other people.