I have said that I write in order to discover. In conjunction with this is the way in which God develops me through writing. When I start striking the keys or pushing pencil into paper, there is a profound sense in which I’m not just writing; I’m being written. As I express my thoughts and connect them to each other, God’s Spirit is working on me, drawing out falsehoods and misunderstandings, pulling out imperfections, illuminating ideas, beautifying banalities in my mind’s eye. This happens in the context of God’s omnipresence.
Because God is invisible, we easily forget the basic truth that we write always in his presence. There is no such thing, really, as writing in isolation. God is in the room with you. He’s in your thoughts (Ps. 139:2), in your eyes (Prov. 20:12), and in the rest of your body as he sustains you by the word of his power (Heb. 1:3) and holds you together (Col. 1:17). God, in other words, is your comprehensive environment for existence (Acts 17:28). That does not mean that you and I are divine, in any sense, but it nevertheless highlights the mysterious truth that God is not only all around us; he is also in us (John 17:21; 1 Cor. 3:16). There is no where we can go where God is not, neither in the world nor in our hearts and minds.
Because God is omnipresent, because God is in us, it is not possible, strictly speaking, to sunder what we write from what God is writing as he develops us in the craft. We can distinguish these two things (our writing of prose and God’s writing of us), but we cannot separate them. This, in part, is the reason why hubris and egoism are the primary vices for writers. Not only is God primarily responsible for whatever truth and beauty you express; he is also the one in charge of your personal development in the process. The wisdom and insight you acquire through writing is a divinely packaged gift.
I am guilty, probably with many other authors, of failing to recognize that God is writing me as I write for others. So, I say this morning with sobriety: Don’t be fooled. You write far less than God does, and far less winsomely. As you build discourse, he builds you. We write words, my friends, but God writes people.