Friday, April 25, 2008

Faith and the Life of the Writer - Clemons

Sometimes I feel God has given me a special anointing of faith.

It takes faith to be a writer. Every time you sit at a computer staring at an empty screen you have to have faith God will give you the words you need to write; you must have faith God will see what you write through to publication, and you must have faith to believe God will provide an audience to read what you’ve written.

According to scripture: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Imagine that. God wants us to have confidence that what we hope for will come to pass even when we don’t see it. Boy, I can relate to that. I left high-salaried marketing career to write novels. In my naïveté I assumed my first release would make me rich and famous. Why not? God had called me to write. He had given me the words. He would give me the audience. Not! I think my first book sold about 1,500 copies. Imagine my disappointment. “But God, didn’t you say..?”

And now, as I sit here having just completed a draft of novel number five, I wonder where I get the faith to continue. I’m reminded of the song I will praise you in the storm by Casting Crowns. Part of the lyrics were lifted from Psalm 121: 1-2.

“I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The maker of heaven and earth.”


Yesterday as I sat at my computer staring at my completed first draft I knew something was missing, but I didn’t know what. I felt like Elijah sitting on Mount Carmel, dry as a river in a drought. You know the story. It hadn’t rained in three and a half years but suddenly there was this tiny little cloud on the horizon no bigger than a man’s fist, and Elijah sent his servant to tell King Ahab to get his chariot moving because the roads were about to get washed out. Now that’s faith! And just as suddenly, right out of the blue, it came to me what I had to do. A subplot needed to be added. I started doing research and the further I went the more perfectly it fit, and I knew God was speaking. That’s the way it’s always been. “I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
God has always been gracious and encouraged me. I’ve been blessed with excellent distribution, enjoyed rave reviews, received five awards, had my books carried by virtually every major Christian chain in the U.S. and been in hundreds of independent bookstores, yet for all of that my last book sold just under 5,000 copies. Hardly a best seller.
I’ve not yet seen the fulfillment of God’s promise. But I will. God’s timing is perfect, but it’s usually a lot different than mine. So as I look at my paltry draft knowing it will take untold hours of crafting, beating it with the proverbial hammer and chisel to turn it into a work of art, I have faith to believe God will see it through to completion and that ultimately He will use it for His intended purpose. After all, I didn’t put the desire in my heart to write, He did. “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13 (NLT)
I guess, then, I shouldn’t be surprised that He’s already given me the plots for books six, seven and eight. And to that I can only say, “Lord, increase my faith.”

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