Praise be to the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle.(NIV)
The above verse I hold onto as a writer who writes from a biblical worldview. Dr. Francis Schaeffer wrote, “No man can live without a world-view; therefore there is no man who is not a philosopher.” I don’t feel much like a philosopher, but who am I to argue with one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century? Nor am I a fighter—but I can do battle with pen and paper or sitting at a keyboard.
The article below was published in the Christian Communicator in 2006. This is where I’m coming from.
When President Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, he supposedly said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war!”
Long before Uncle Tom’s Cabin hit the bookshelves of the world more than 100 years ago, the written word impassioned patriots. Then, as now, written words still bring bittersweet tears to fathers reading their soldier sons’ final letters. Letters and journals from the past connect us with blood kin we wish we had known face to face. Preserved notes and stories of kindred spirits a millennium ago echo the aspirations of our own souls.
Writing can ignite fires of battle or detail healing paths to peace. Contrary to the singsong retort of childhood, words can hurt—perhaps even more than sticks and stones—and words can empower.
Tucked away in the Old Testament book of Judges is the story of Israel’s only woman judge, Deborah. After Israel defeated the Canaanites in battle, Deborah and her military general, Barak, sang a song of victorious praise. Of the various Jewish tribes they regaled, they sang of Zebulun’s people, those “that handle the pen of the writer” (Judges 5:14, KJV).
Later in their song we learn one other thing about this tribe of writers. They “jeoparded their lives unto the death in the places of the field” (Judges 5:18, KJV).Zebulun’s tribe was a group of writer-soldiers. They could fight with pens on scrolls or as physical combatants.
Writers as Soldiers
As writers, our words are one more weapon in the arsenal that equips us to fight for the souls of men. We fight our battles on two fronts. We want to engage the enemy according to the rules of literary “war” with excellence—quality writing. With no chinks in our armor, we’re ready to advance standards of holy living. Both package and packaging must be battle ready. Our writing must demonstrate quality and integrity as we wage war against trash that poses as literature.
We may entertain, inform, or educate. We may write poetry, song lyrics, magazine articles, novels, or one-act plays. Whatever the genre, our writing is a creative extension of our battle regalia. Our calling and passion make us writer-soldiers.
One of the last orders our Commander-in-Chief gave to the Apostle John in Revelation was, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:5 NIV). However long John may have lived after he wrote those words, we know this: he went down fighting.
So, ready at your post, soldier! The battle’s almost won.
—reprinted from the Christian Communicator September, 2006; Vol. 18, #9.