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When I began editing the manuscript, I was exhilarated. But, as I worked, discouragement grew and enlarged. I began to compare how much I could accomplish when I first began writing fiction ten years ago with what I can accomplish now.
I’m a writer with a chronic illness. I’ve been sick with an autoimmune disease since 2013. My window of work each day is now small. Fatigue and brain fog now bring challenges.
As Christians writers, we’re on mission for the Lord. We’ve been gifted to write, and we serve God with our words, delivering the message he has given us. However, when completing any mission, obstacles will threaten to derail us.
Sometimes we wonder why God would allow this. Why wouldn’t he keep struggles away, so we can devote our time and attention to serving him?
The Lord’s tactics are usually the opposite of what we expect.
Today I’m writing to encourage other writers who face large obstacles of any kind. One of the most encouraging passages in Scripture tells us:
Trials actually equip us for the task. They give us quality content to write. God allows those who serve him to suffer for these reasons:
- So we can be comforted by God, learning experientially that he is the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, the One who beckons us near to encourage us, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4a.
We must know this in our bones. Why?
- So that we can then encourage others in any trouble with the same strengthening and consolation that we’ve received from God. Through Christ our comfort overflows, 1:4b-5.
If you’re like me, God often uses your writing to encourage your readers. Therefore, this is a lesson we must learn, if we hope to uplift others. In trials, we learn that the more we suffer, the more Christ comforts us in abundant measure, 1:5.
Our written words are tools he then uses to come alongside others, encouraging them to endure, 1:6a. Thus, they share in this same comfort from God, 1:7. In this way, we’re distressed for the comfort and salvation of others – our readers.
More reasons God allows us to suffer:
- Trials and God’s comfort in them produce character and patient endurance, 1:6b. This enables us to persevere, a necessary requirement for Christian writers.
- Trials, hardships, and pressures are felt beyond our ability to endure, even to the point of despair, so that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead, 1:8-9.
In our own strength, we can’t live the Christian life or fulfill our ministry of writing. Realizing that we can’t rely on ourselves, but only on God, must be learned experientially. Suffering is required. We are strengthened by learning to rely on the One who raises the dead.
Our trials keep us ever mindful of our weaknesses, so that we set our hope on God, who has delivered us and will continue to deliver us, 1:10. And he does. And he will, even in our death.
In this same letter, Paul also wrote:
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:7, 10 NIV).
Any ability we have is from God. It isn’t us. It’s him. The life of Jesus has given us all we need to complete our mission. As we rely on him, we are able. These trials are for our good. Press on!
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NIV).
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