by Ian Wall
Some twenty years ago (I don’t remember exactly when) The Lord asked me to write a novel for him.
I said, “Yes Lord, but you are going to have to show me what to do”.
I had not written a novel before and I did not have a clue what to do.
Recently my pastor said that our God had played his part for us by giving us his only son, Jesus Christ, to be our Lord, and to die on the cross for our sins. He said that we had to play our part for Him.
How can we play our part for our God?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11),
“…the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7),
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9), and
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (Proverbs 19:21).
I can play my part by doing the will of my God.
I do not regard the time that I have here on earth as my time, but as his time.
I want to use it so that “His kingdom comes, his will is done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
I prayed about this novel and started to write about a Species of sentient frogs, The Makné, and a Species of sentient ants, The Nâzz Ipîtuí. I deleted a lot of what I wrote because I thought that it was me rather than The Lord. One of the earliest things that I wrote, that I have not changed, was about a Species of sentient kelp, The Qrem.
I showed an early draft of the novel, The Seventh Tree, to my wife, Letchimi, and to my pastor, Steve.
Letchimi insisted that writing this novel was not God’s will, Steve wasn’t sure.
I stopped writing it. I did not want to spend time working on a project that was not God’s will.
I continued to write poems. Some of the longer Christian poems took more than a year to write. I have written more than a hundred poems to date.
Yet the novel, The Seventh Tree, would not go away. I prayed about it continuously. A friend from church said that if something wouldn’t go away, then that was a good indication that it was God’s will. I believed that writing it was God‘s will for me. In 2015 I started a new version and by June 2017 I had a manuscript of 39,000 words.
The apostle Paul says, “test everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). How could I know that what I was writing was God’s will?
I spoke to Jonathan, a member of my home group in church. He suggested that I send the manuscript to him and that he would send it to the Christian writer, Jennifer Rees Larcombe, a family friend. I did this, but Jennifer was unable to help, suggesting that I send it to the Association of Christian Writers (ACW). I joined the ACW.
I spoke to Letchimi asking her if I could spend £117.50 on getting the manuscript edited. She agreed. In April 2018 I sent the manuscript of the novel, The Seventh Tree, to Fay Sampson, the Adult Fiction Adviser for the ACW. She sent me a report of her findings. I read it and my heart sank. She had made pages of criticisms. I admit that I was discouraged. I put her report away and thought, Letchimi is right. I have wasted all that time.
I continued to pray and went back to the report. Fay Sampson had made some constructive criticisms. She said that The Seventh Tree is an “ambitious project”, but said that “there is a huge amount to do to turn this preliminary sketch into a rich, enjoyable novel.” She suggested definite actions that I could take to carry this out.
I continued to pray continuously and, in May 2018, I started to write a new manuscript, taking into account Fay Sampson’s suggestions.
I connected on LinkedIn with Tom Blubaugh, a Literary Strategist, and we had a Zoom meeting. He invited me to join Authors Community, an online community to help authors publish their books.
Tom introduced me to the world of marketing, an area which I had not considered before. My education in this area is being aided by a series of videos which have been produced by Authors Community. He suggested that I write interviews with the main characters in the novel. I completed three of the interviews and sent them to Tom’s colleague in Authors Community, Gina Burgess, who made insightful, helpful and brilliant suggestions, to improve the them.
In the last year, with help from The Lord and others, I have completed the first nine chapters of The Seventh Tree in draft form, more than 43,000 words.
I have done a lot of sowing in the last twenty years and I am starting to see a harvest.
How can I tell the difference between what God has asked me to write and what might be coming from me? It matters to me, that He is in my writing, that His will is being done. The Holy Spirit “searches our hearts” (Romans 8:27). I read, re-read, and edit, what I have written. I am totally dependent on my God to guide me in this.
The fundamental disagreement with my wife continues. We have both been born-again, we are both in the kingdom of the Spirit, Jesus Christ lives in both of us, The Father has made His home within both of us, and we are each new creations. I have been praying for unity between us and our God and between us (John 17). There is greater unity, but this disagreement continues. How can this be?
I regard The Seventh Tree as a project that Jesus himself has given me to do.
How can I move forward?
For, although our God never wastes anything. I would nevertheless have spent a lot of time working on something that was not His will.
Publishing a novel is an expensive process. How can I commit to this expense in the face of my wife’s adamant opposition?
This is not an impossible situation as nothing is impossible with our God.
I have asked Him, if it is His will, to provide me with the funds that are necessary to publish this book (Matthew 7:7-8). I am a joint heir of the kingdom of God with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). It is written, “ask and you will receive.”
All that I can do is put the fantasy novel, The Seventh Tree, into the hands of my God and say, “Let your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
Ian Wall is an Author Level member of Authors Community.