“…it is a sin to be always seeking to hide that which God has bestowed upon us for the good of others.” – CH Spurgeon
You can read Spurgeon’s entire evening devotional for January 12 here. It only takes two minutes and is well worth reading. While I can’t add much to what this great preacher said, I would add a hearty “Amen” and follow it up with a simple testimony. Last year at this time, I never dreamed that I would soon begin writing my first novel. It just didn’t even enter into my imagination, although honestly, I did question from time to time why I stopped writing in my youth.
I have to say honestly that it was because I just felt there was nothing left to be said. There is such a breadth of writing on so many subjects, why would I feel I had anything to add?
From time to time I see people posting encouragements such as “tell your story,” “people need to hear what you have to say.” Even after having published Sani, I am still tempted to think along more pessimistic lines: “Really? What do I have to say that hasn’t been said?” Especially when it comes to World War II fiction!
However, it has become more and more obvious to me over time that, while it is true that many things have already been said, sometimes, God needs someone specific to say it to us. Growing up, how many times can I remember my mother saying something to me, and yet it took someone else saying the same exact thing for the light bulb to finally go on? I think we can all relate!
Yet, it is the very breadth of material available that makes a person feel like it will be hard for their voice to be heard. We don’t even know what to listen to! Which blog do I subscribe to? What book do I read next? Which preacher should I tune in to? Which podcast is really worth listening to?
In the course I am currently taking, Perspectives, Todd Ahrend recounts a story of losing his wedding band between the seat and console of his minivan. I believe he refers to this as “the crevasse of despair.” Again, I think we can all relate! He describes his fruitless efforts to retrieve the ring before finally unstrapping his daughter from her car seat and asking her to give it a shot. Her tiny hand fit perfectly, and soon the ring was comfortably back on his finger. God used this to speak to Him these words: “Little fits where big doesn’t.”
He was talking about mobilizing for missions, but I think this principle applies here as well. We may feel like our influence is limited. We’ll never be like So-and-So, therefore why bother when So-and-So has already said it so eloquently? But someone, somewhere is going to pick up what I have written — or what you have written — and it is going to speak directly to where they are at. God is going to use it to speak into their circumstances in a way So-and-So’s writing couldn’t. Perhaps it is the very fact that they know you personally that causes your words to speak to them. Or maybe, through God’s hand, it will find its way to some unknown person who also needs to hear what you have to say. Music is the same way. If you are writing songs, consider posting them on YouTube and sharing them on Facebook. Are you skilled in the visual arts? Snap a picture and post it! It doesn’t matter how many people you reach, what matters is that you are reaching out. You are pouring out what God has poured into you. It is an offering acceptable and pleasing to Him. If you are comfortable letting Him decide what to do with it, do the results really matter?
If you are not comfortable with that yet this year, consider making that one of your prayers. When I first realized God was calling me to write Sani, it took me a while to really believe it. Finally, and numerous times throughout the writing process, I held out my empty hands, palms up, and said, “I have nothing, God. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I want to do this. Here are my hands. Fill them, and do with them what You will.”
Spurgeon ends his devotional with these words: “Hide not thy talent; trade with it, and thou shalt bring in good interest to thy Lord and Master. To speak for God will be refreshing to ourselves, cheering to saints, useful to sinners, and honouring to the Saviour… Lord, unloose all thy children’s tongue!” (For anyone like me who had to do a double take on the word “unloose,” to unloose actually means “to undo or let free.” It’s counterintuitive, I know.) Praying that this is the year the Lord will unloose you to share what He has given you!