Successful books always come from a writer’s inspired, creative mind and heart. Every time we attempt to make publishing a science, making it more about business nuts and bolts, rather than art, serendipitous creativity seems to find a way around the science, nuts, and bolts.
Effective and wise business planning is important, but Christian publishing’s guiding principle should be Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” (NIV).
Consider the state of the world.
Evil is gaining momentum; and Christ-followers worldwide are much more like first-century believers, increasingly needing to be strong, courageous, unyielding, aware, and wise in how they work and live as Christ’s ambassadors to a fallen world.
One group of Christian writers might have a unique perspective on how we should all prepare to live as believers.
Those connected to the military in the past or present could be a window into the future of the church and how it relates to the world. We might be well-served to pay attention to what they have to communicate.
Think about those things pressed into everyone connected to the military and how they relate to all believers seeking to live the Christian life in the third decade of the 21st century:
Your life is not your own: There’s no room for self-interest. Egos are set aside. There’s no “I” in team. Everyone has a specific role. For Christians, you were bought with a price and are not your own (1 Corinthians 6:20).
This life is held lightly: Constantly being around people risking death or dying changes everyone. The mission could result in the ultimate sacrifice. Consider everything loss compared to knowing and serving Christ (Philippians 3).
Always listening for orders: Regardless of personal desires and plans, everything is set aside when a command is issued: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27, NIV)
Obedience is a way of life: Once the orders come, while likely not convenient, they are obeyed. Plans change in a moment. Personal desires are set aside for the sake of the mission. The most powerful prayer might be, “Lord, not my will, but yours.”
No place for the fragile or faint of heart (and not only those on the front lines): Scripture is filled with statements from God, giving us courage in our circumstances. Oswald Chambers wrote, “The remarkable thing about God is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else, whereas if you do not fear God, you fear everything else.”
Military spouses, active or inactive soldiers, and military families learn difficult lessons that are never comfortable.
Of course, there is the omnipresent author-marketing issue to overcome. But maybe those Christians who have a military season in their past or are currently serving will have unique insights into those things to help all Christ-followers cope with an evil, unstable, chaotic world, where courage is necessary for all believers and it is important to remember your training.
The Institute of Faith, Work, and Economics has an interesting article on its website, “How Do the Seven Army Values Align with Christian Values?”
There was a monster ‘neath my bed,
hot sulfur-breath that I could feel.
They told me, “It’s just in your head,”
but I grew up to find him real,
and quite immune to rhyme and reason,
living for the lust to kill,
and thus for me turned hunting season,
and in my heart I am there still,
for I have heard the children cry,
and seen parents, bereft, lament.
I’ve been where beauty goes to die,
killed with casual intent,
and for the Right embraced the fate
of Revelation 6 dash 8.
Excellent article! I am an old man now and lament the lack of understanding of what your writing has presented. A life guided by God and illuminated by your points listed would have opened me up to live a freer experience. Keep up the excellent work.
Milspouse here. (Hubby’s a retired 24-year U.S. Navy veteran.) Good insight for all of us to take to heart. Eyes above, keep eyes above. Thanks, Dan.
Your post is timely for me, Dan. I find myself more and more drawn to people who served in the military. My husband served in the U.S. Navy before we were married, and we have a close friend who lost his hearing while serving in the Korean War. I’ve recently been in touch with a Vietnam war veteran who is reviewing a small combat scene in my WIP. In all these cases, I’m moved by their lack of ego. They tell me they were just doing a job they were called to, and yet their sacrifices made it possible for so many to have so much.
It isn’t a far leap to see the analogy to serving our Lord. You put it so well in your post.
This is so good and needed! I served in the United States Air Force Nurse Corp during Vietnam war and recently we came in contact with the woman who was the little girl running naked on the road to avoid the chemicals being used to ‘flush out the bush’… the pain of this conflict remains with so many who truly and selflessly gave of themselves to serve. How distorted and perverse these issues became in the hands of the enemy. We must all remember, we now serve the Lord in the same way, clinging to Him alone. Only His leading matters. May many eyes be opened to the truth of this reality. We are nothing on our own!
I love this article. Without a military background in my family, I’ve wondered why I am so drawn to soldiers and their stories. I chose a wounded vet as my male protagonist in my debut novel and wrote about what I learned in the process as a guest on the blog site Truth in Fiction. More in the works for my sequel.
God Bless all those who serve!
Appreciate your insights and as a military spouse I absolutely agree. Thanks for your support of our military community of writers. I remember our conversation and you were so encouraging. There really is something special about someone who has served and I think you highlighted that well.
Excellent insight, Dan. Thanks for this article. As a Christian soldier who is now writing about Heaven, I guess I have a unique perspective. I retired a few years ago after serving more that 30 years in the Army and Air Force. You would think I have more time to write, but I find myself busier than ever! Not published yet, but your encouragement is always appreciated.