Today, a young pastor friend of mine received a diagnose of lymphoma. He only recently returned from a year-long tour of duty as a chaplain in Iraq. Now he's facing another battle of monumental proportions.
Last Friday, I received word that the son of another good minister friend of ours had been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
I spoke to my mother on the phone yesterday. Six months after the death of my stepfather, loneliness has a choke hold on Mom. She tried to join a gathering of the residents in her retirement community's parlor to watch her favorite college team, the Sooners, play football on TV, but without George there to share in the experience, she decided it wasn't worth the effort. She went back to her apartment at halftime and spent the rest of the evening alone.
So often, we writers focus on the benefits we stand to personally gain when our work is published. The temptation is to think that it's all about me. I need to be reminded that I am blessed to be a blessing. God gifts me with certain talents, not so much for my own benefit, but for the benefit of those hurting, scared, and lonely people whose lives intersect with mine.
The stories you write may have no direct correlation with your readers' real-life situation, but even through pure entertainment you may minister a healing balm to hurting souls. As you write today, try to envision that future reader who needs the comfort, encouragement, or joy they'll find in the story God has laid on your heart.
Romans 15: 4 says, For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
Philippians 2: 3-4 tells us: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (If you've got time, read this chapter in its entirety. You'll be blessed and challenged.)