In the beginning I asked God to press the burning coal to my mouth and now I know that He has never stopped. A friend asked today what I've learned this month and I wasn't sure how to answer her except this: what have I lost?
If I never write another word, has 13 years of writing been good enough?
If I never think another cohesive thought, am I grateful for the singular thought that He thinks of me?
If I am never read by many, have I proclaimed truth as best to the few?
And if I am never read by the small tens and twelves of a decade ago, have I been gentle and careful to the masses?
This month has not accomplished much in me except this, I hold no light but the light which he puts in my hands. I create no light, but am only the steward of it. Nothing is of me, born in me, birthed from me, that did not originate in Him and with Him. And if I think any different, I am a bigger fool than anyone.
Writing is work, from the first word to the last, but the gospel is not. Sanctification is. Sanctification is work from the moment we roll our sleeves up our newly saved arms to the time dust to dust is tossed over our shallow grave. Life is fleeting and short and is full of the difficult work of the day. At night we go to bed weary and if we do not, we are not obeying the first commandment: to be fruitful and multiply, to take dominion and subdue. Subduing is tiring work and what is writing if not lassoing the words into submission, corralling them into coherent sentences and stories? It is work I tell you.
To those who think the words comes easily, swift off my mind and into the pages, I remind you it is the easy words we ought to fear most. The difficult, painful words, these are the ones we ought to heed and hear because sweat has spilled for them. The words groaning in gestation, brought forth in a bloody birth. Those are the words of eternal life and those words are not to be found on any blog, in any article, or book, or from a podium or podcast.
I have thought much of Simon Peter during this writing sabbath. Peter with the gift of speak, words persuasive and foolish, loyal and rebellious, anxious and placid. I know Peter as well as I know my own mind—a paradox of faith and doubt, fear and hope. "To whom else would we go," Peter said, "You have the words of eternal life."