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A Humbling Photo

humblingphoto

A friend of mine at Desiring God Ministries sent me a photo the other day that brought tears to my eyes. They were inside a maximum security prison shooting a documentary when a photographer came across what he thought was an interesting shot. It was an inmate’s desk with a copy of the Bible and two other books. Those two books were, The Ever Loving Truth, and Family Driven Faith. I had preached in this particular prison before and sent several books in when I left. This inmate was obviously one of the beneficiaries of that gift.

I am always torn when I sit down to write. Whether it is a book, an article, or a simple blog post, I struggle with several emotions. On the one hand, I feel compelled to write. On the other hand, I find writing to be a terrible taskmaster, and I really can’t say that I ‘love’ to do it. Then there are the days when I ask myself, “Are you so arrogant as to believe that you have something to say that is worth putting in print?” The answer to that question is always a resounding NO! (Yes, I talk to myself and answer) However, I write nonetheless. And as I write, there are a few groups of people I keep in mind.

I Write for My Grandchildren

One group of people that motivates me to write is my children’s children who are yet to be born. When I sit down to write a book like The Ever Loving Truth, Family Driven Faith, or What He Must Be, I often remind myself that what I am doing will serve as a historical marker of sorts for my descendants... many of whom I may never meet. I want my great grandchildren to be able to glimpse into my life and discover something about what the Lord did to pave the way for them. Perhaps a wayward member of my family will be brought back into the fold a hundred years from now when he reads words penned by his long-dead ancestor.

“Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” (Psalms 78:1-4 ESV)

I Write for My Brothers and Sisters in the Lord

Not only do I think about my descendants when I write, I also think about my brothers and sisters in the Lord who are wrestling with some of the very issues about which the Lord has led me to write. I know my books are not for everyone. In fact, they are probably not for most people. However, I am equally sure that they are definitely for someone, though I know not whom. I guess that’s why this photo meant so much to me. It was a glimpse into the world of one man whose life has been touched by a labor to which my life has been devoted. That is an exhilarating, satisfying, and terrifying thought. That’s the kind of thought that makes me ask myself, “Are you so arrogant as to believe that you have something to say that is worth putting in print?” And of course, the answer is still, “NO!”

Finally, I write for those whom the Lord is drawing to himself. One of my prayers for each of my books is that God will use the words therein as a link in the redemptive chain. I am thoroughly convinced of the Lord’s sovereign, monergistic work in salvation. However, I am equally convinced that he ordains the ends as well as the means. I believe God uses the gospel to call sinners to himself. As such, I pray he uses my writing as a means through which he saves some. Thus, I continue to write. And amazingly, people continue to read... even people behind bars. God is good!

VB