You’ve probably heard the so-called “magic word” used by magicians in their performances. One of the possible explanations for its origin is the Aramaic phrase “Avra kehdabra,” meaning “I will create as I speak.” That’s exactly what God did in Genesis 1 when He created the world. He spoke, and it was. God is the Author of Life. He revealed to us the power of words, the power of His voice—the same voice He gave to us who are made in His image. The gift of writing allows us to capture that voice in ink, just as His words are forever penned in Scripture.
What’s beautiful about the Creation story is that, through His words, God created an experience for us. He spoke forth every beautiful thing, and then, at the very end, He created us. He invited us to share His word-born beauty with Him. That’s what writing is: a word-created invitation for another to experience the world as we do.
The only problem is that the world God invited us into and the world we live in now are two different realities. Where does our current reality—our broken, disjointed, uncomfortable, sometimes agonising reality—fit into writing? Into an encounter for others to partake of? What happens when the goodness of God’s voice in us collides with the suffering of a broken world?
All Scripture is God-breathed, and “all Scripture” includes the Book of Psalms. The Psalms are vividly authentic about life—exultant in joy, raw in pain, flowing in grief, burning with anger, passionate in love. This is the true expression of the voice God gave us: the permission to be utterly and unashamedly real.
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:8).
So often, we try to suppress our lives—our struggles, our fallibility, our emotions—into a package that looks nice yet carries a ticking time bomb within. That’s not what God asked of us. He asked us for everything. He wants the true, unaltered version of us, in all its unconcealed intensity. Writing allows us an avenue through which to pour out our hearts before Him, regardless of what the results look like. When we try to shove away anything that doesn’t sparkle, we shortchange ourselves and those around us by masking over our ability to relate to each other. Above that, we shortchange ourselves and others out of the opportunity to see what God can create from brokenness.
Over the last few years, I’ve been faced with hardships that brought me to tears countless times. I’ve found writing to be an outlet for some of the grief and anger that have arisen. Following is a passage I wrote in the midst of these circumstances.
“Violent tearing, ripping, dragging apart the threads in my hands, angry. You [God] take it and pull it apart further, separating the threads. I wince in pain, but You know what You’re doing. Overcome by turbulent thoughts and emotions, I cast the whole thing into the fire. You pick up a blackened thread and blow on it gently. As I watch, the char breaks off in dust and floats away on Your breath. All that’s left is a brilliantly coloured thread. You take each piece from the fire and blow on it until all the bits are vibrant with life. Your life. Then, You take the threads and begin to weave them together. You take me as a child onto Your lap, and I watch the bright threads coming together, knowing it will be a masterpiece. You bring beauty from ashes” (November 20, 2022).
As I spin my thoughts into metaphors that mirror my life, I find God meeting me in the middle of it all. The story starts to look like Him. All the pain it took to get there only shadows the majesty God writes onto the pages of my life and extends my ability to touch the deep places of my readers’ hearts.
When we invite God in to experience our lives with us, especially through the written word, He captures our imagination and fills our hearts with His own—His love, His grace, His truth. He leaves nothing broken, nothing wasted. He works all things for our good (see Romans 8:28), and our present suffering isn’t worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us (see Romans 8:18). Pain turns to redemption and the remembrance of His faithfulness, as we see time and again in the Psalms. The expression of our humanity becomes an opportunity for the expression of His reality. Our words become His life pouring forth from us, and that Life is the story of the Gospel. His Kingdom come, His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. An experience worth inviting others into.
As we put pen to paper and demonstrate the voice God put in us, He will create.