If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Writing or Written?

Some of you might know by now that I wrote a book, a novel. It has not - yet - been published in print, but it is available for Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook. There are more e-reader services that it will be going to as well. It floated around in my head for quite some time before I ever started putting it down on paper. And all that happened a long time ago. The book, "Troubled Fields" would sit there for a period of time, and then I would go back and tweak, re-write, edit . .  all that stuff.

It started out as a nice little Christmas story. Over time it changed and developed into something else. Then, after I "got saved" in 2007, it went through a couple more transformations. I don't have much of a bio as an author. When it came to the "about the author" part, I didn't have much to say. Instead, I wrote a little paragraph about what the book means to me. One thing I said there is that "Troubled Fields" started out as something that I wanted, written the way I wanted it to be. My greatest desire for it now is that it is only and all that God wants it to be. I truly hope that is the case, but I wonder.

You see, "Troubled Fields" began as my "great American novel". It was meant to bring great things to me. By the time I finished it for the fourth or fifth time, and pressed the "publish" button, it was meant to glorify God. I hope that in some way it does just that. Now, this book is not like a Sherwood Pictures movie. It's clean, but it still has a few of what some might consider rough edges. You won't read "God" in every chapter. What you will see is a man of faith, living by faith, and messing up from time to time, like "real life". 

In this life, we don't always do the right thing, even after making Jesus Lord of our lives. I'm not making excuses. I'm just stating facts. The truth is that Jesus has made us perfect. All who are followers of Jesus need to accept that about ourselves. We are not going to reach that state of perfection and be perfect until that bright day when we leave this life and abide in His presence, but He has begun a perfect perfecting work in us. Until then, Christians are going to continue to do unChristlike things. But ain't it great to know that we are forgiven?

The problem that I have with my own book is that I took something that was written for another purpose and then found places to "write God in". When I first started doing this, those were places I chose in the story where I thought God would fit. And when I thought I had, at long last finished the book, and wrote "The End", I had a good overall story, with some great drama, but I felt that I had come up a little short in showing God at work in these troubled fields. I prayed that He would somehow be glorified by it.

Two of my "pre-readers" loved the story, but were very much highly terribly awfully greatly depressingly disturbed (does that adequately describe their feelings?) about what had happened to one of the characters. I have to admit that I, too, sat at my keyboard and literally cried over the same thing when I wrote it. (What you have to understand is that sometimes a story takes its own direction. You write something completely unplanned and not even in your range of thought at the moment, and then sit there quite surprised, stunned maybe, at what you see before you.) I didn't want it to happen, but it had great shock value, and it really made for some great drama. They respected my work as the author, but pleaded with me to see if something else could happen. I resisted, and then half-heartedly said, "OK, I'll see."

I fully expected, planned actually, to report back that nothing else worked, it was just going to have to be that way. But, a strange thing happened.. I found myself completely re-writing -again - the last seven chapters of the book and adding two more chapters. And God found His own places to show up! He surprised me because I found things happening that I didn't think could happen. Just like real life. (Thank you Angie and Bettie.) His ending to this story is far more satisfying than any I could come up with on my own.

"Troubled Fields" is not a perfect work of fiction. But, I believe I can say that it is a story that I started and God finished. On second thought, I'm sure it is a story that God wanted told. I tried to take it over, but when I gave it back, He readily took it and made it His.

This reminds me that God has a story for each one of us, already planned and written out in His own hand. We start out living the story that God wrote for us. But somewhere along the way we take it and start doing our own editing. We add dialogue here, drama there. We write chapters that were never intended to be there. From where we are it all might look good to us, or it might look like a complete mess. But, in any case, it is not the story that God wrote for us.

If you haven't done so already, put your pen down. Turn away from that poor attempt at plagiarism that you've been living.  Turn your life story over to God. He will give you a new, fresh, clean and pure page to start on. All you have to write on it is, "Your story, Lord, not mine".  And then live the story God has written for you. It is a story where your name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life. It is a story of great adventure, still filled with up's and down's, high's and low's. It's a story where you are never again alone and you are always and forever forgiven. And, speaking of forever, it is the only truly never ending story. And it is yours!

Psalm 139:16  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

1 Corinthians 2:9  However, as it is written:“What no eye has seen,what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— 

Daniel 12:1  “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.

Revelation 20:15  Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. 



When it comes to the story that He has written for us, wouldn't it be great, as this song suggests, to sign His name to the end of each day? I'm sorry to say that there have been far too few of those for me.