I’ve been thinking…Not always a good thing where my mind is concerned, but it is what it is.
This past Sunday, there was a horrific shooting at a small church in a rural area nears San Antonio. In Texas terms, that’s not far from where I live in North Texas. In my native Rhode Island terms, that’s the far side of the moon.
This violence impacted me more than any of the other recent shootings. Maybe because it is so close to home. Not only physically close, but spiritually close as well. These were Christians. We probably wouldn’t agree on everything theological and denominational, but that’s not important. We share a love for and a faith in Christ.
During the past couple of days, the images of that shooting come to my mind when I least expect it. My heart aches for the loss of life and innocence, for a community devastated by wanton violence. And I pray for the survivors and those who mourn. And I mourn with them.
As I lift the situation to God, something is happening in my own spirit. A renewal in my writing. I’m in a lull right now. Last week, I finished the first draft of a novel. It’s in what I call the editing crockpot where it will simmer for a while until I start the second draft. None of my other story ideas have grabbed me yet, but one or two are rising to the surface.
The renewal I’m experiencing is in the areas of what I write and why I write. Obviously, I write the stories that stir me the most. I try not to follow market trends and instead focus more my heart.
One of the reasons I write is to entertain. Now I’m seeing more clearly there is more to story telling than entertaining.
I write to encourage, to enrich, to give the readers hope for themselves as they experience the journeys of my characters. Maybe my stories can help people grieve and draw closer to each other and to God. Maybe my stories can help readers draw strength as they face their own struggles. Maybe my stories can give readers insights into themselves, their worlds, and the God who loves them.
The shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs is, in many ways, beyond comprehension in my natural understanding. It is evil brought to life.
And through it all, there is God working through me and so many others to bring comfort and healing.
How do we respond?
Mourning here, too. I’m sure the Lord will use this time to flavor your writing, and will then use your writing to bless others.
Thank you, Jan. I know he has the same in mind for you as well.
You were the first person I thought of when the news broke. I knew you must live close in proximity. But you’re right, the tragedy hits particular close to all believers as the unfathomable happened amidst prayer and praise–something that should never be associated with violence. I can only imagine how God felt considering his omnipresence–He was right there in the middle of it. Keep writing, Henry–all for His glory. There is purpose in your gift.
Thank you, Jayme. Your words are very encouraging at this moment.