Secretaries of Praise

In a devotional about Acts 20:35, J.
Hudson Taylor said – “Oh that our pen may be anointed as with fresh oil, while
we seek to bring our own soul, and the soul of our readers more fully under the
influence of this truth!”

As we search for truth in the world
around us, as we strive to depict it, in whatever form, we glorify the One who
is truth, the One who lives in us.
But there is a danger, the trap of
arrogance, the sin of pride. There is danger in loving our words too much,
danger in thinking ourselves wise. William Saroyan has said – “If you
practice an art faithfully, it will make you wise, and most writers can use a
little wising up.” We must never assume the words belong to us, neither to
keep nor to distribute. The words, especially those that come from the depth of
our spirit, belong to our Father. We can never claim Divine inspiration, but we
must take seriously the calling, the vocation, of a writer who is Christian.
Nor can we claim that we have all the answers.
Frans Kafka has said – “One reads in order to ask questions.” Perhaps one
should also write from that perspective, not to provide, but to seek the
answers, those answers that will resonate deep and long as they touch that
central part of our being where God resides; those answers that will lead us
and our readers to more questions and to a deeper knowledge of God.
The trap of pride also lurks, ready to
ensnare us. It is in arrogance that we write believing we possess the complete
unadulterated truth. Jesus is the only One who lives in that place. Jesus is
truth. We are merely those, as J. Hudson Taylor says, who are seeking to bring
our own souls under its influence.
Oswald Chambers, who has written one of
the most popular devotional books ever written, has said – “The author who
benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know
before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly
struggling in you for utterance.”
I think the author who is most true to himself, and his readers, is the
one who admits that truth has been dumbly struggling in him, as well. It is
when we as writers struggle to give utterance, struggle toward that wholeness,
that holiness, that we succeed, no matter whether the result is published in
the New Yorker or in a local newspaper. For, as E.B. white has said, “Writing
is an act of faith, not a trick of grammar.”
This is our calling, our privilege, to walk forward in that faith, for,
as George Herbert’s wonderful little poem says –
 “Of all the creatures in the sea and land
Only to Man thou has made
known thy ways,
and put the pen alone into
his hand,
and made him Secretary of
thy praise.”  
 
 **** 
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. Marcia’s
second novel, A Tumbled Stone has just been short listed in the contemporary
fiction category of The
Word Awards
Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for
writers can be downloaded here.
Visit Marcia’s website