Under the Umbrella

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor’s wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. The sequel to her novel, (working title, A Tumbled Stone), will be released in 2011Visit her website at www.vinemarc.com

I opened my email program this morning to find a few Google Alerts. These are messages telling me when my name or the title of one of my books has appeared somewhere on the web. It’s a good way to track where my name pops up and helps me connect to others on the web who are reading my work. Every now and then something pops up that I don’t expect, telling me that some website, blog or e-zine has used something I’ve written without asking me first. Most of the time my byline is attached to the piece. Sometimes it’s not.

This used to irritate me. A lot. Then someone said something to me in the foyer of our church one Sunday that gave me pause. He said, “You know you’re not working for the kingdom of God when someone else steps into your place and you react with anger or jealousy. That kind of reaction tells you it’s your kingdom you’re building, not His.”

My work as a writer is under the umbrella of God’s kingdom. I want it to be there. I want it to function as a tool that draws people closer to Him and encourages them in their faith. I pray that it does so each time I sit down at the computer. So why should I be upset if someone I don’t know posts something I wrote on a site or in an e-zine I’ve never heard of?

I get upset because I want to be in control. It’s my work. No one else has the right to copy it and use it as they will. Right? Well, yes and no. Take for example the story about the poem, Footprints. That poem was circulated anonymously all over the world. The woman who wrote it had to fight to prove it was her work and get the credit for it, finally being awarded copyright 48 years after it was written. That seems unjust.
Often God’s plans do. It’s hard to accept that his plans sometimes violate our sense of justice. We want things to go according to our way of thinking; we want to be in control. But God’s sovereignty sometimes intervenes. The Apostle Paul explained it this way – “What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Romans 9:14-16).

Let’s go back to Ms. Stevenson’s poem. For many years she had no idea the poem was out there blessing people and bringing God glory, until someone told her. Did God make a mistake in allowing that to happen? I don’t think so. He used something one of His creations created to glorify Himself. He’s allowed. He is God, after all, the One who gives us the ability to create, the One who gives us the words.

Long ago He spoke through the prophet Isaiah – “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Is.9-11).

God has purpose for our words as well. And He will use them as He will.