Writing from Weakness

I believe some of the most powerful books ever written by Christians will be published in the coming years.

Why?

Despite our best efforts, Christians failed to transform culture through the ballot box, boycotts, ministry/church programs and use of the media. Worldwide, Christians are not a moral majority but an imperfect minority.

All the seminars, books, and evangelistic meetings did not make the world a perfect place where Christian principles reign.  So, all we have left is to depend entirely on God’s power and grace.

Maybe that’s not a bad strategy after all.

We prayed for revival and I believe it is imminent, but not because governments and courts are on our side, but because they are not.  Revival will come because God is on our side.

In the coming years, Christian books will be more powerful than ever before because they will be written from weakness, humility and a minority point of view. The world may laugh and taunt, but through weakness will emerge the power of the Almighty God and his grace, which will draw many to him before he comes again as judge of the earth.

As Christ-followers we know living in weakness and depending on God is far better than living in our own strength and depending on our own ability to influence.

Weakness and failure teach deeper things than strength and success. Humility is more attractive and compelling than self-confidence. Failure drives us towards God while success can make us self focused. Writing from weakness is better than writing from strength.

Books on following God and servant leadership are more effective than books on taking charge of your own life and prideful authoritarian leadership, because it’s the way God intended.

Personally, I have failed a lot. Over the years I have made bad decisions, miscalculations, thought I was right when I wasn’t and so on. Whatever success I or any other Christian experiences is a result of the repeated process of failure, correction, redemption and starting again.

As an agent, I fail on behalf of clients. It’s an awful thing to fail for someone else. Anyone involved in publishing longer than a few months, understands failure. It’s part of life, but I wish it weren’t.

Failure and weakness have a unique dual purpose. While they build character, like iron sharpening iron or fire refining gold, it also reveals character. Every failure creates a public display of one’s character-status for all to see.

Writing and publishing is risky business. Rejection, not meeting expectations, losing money, wasting time and outright failure are part of the life of an author, agent and publisher.

It is neither fair nor logical. It rains on the righteous and unrighteous, the talented writer and not so talented. (By the way, in the Bible, rain is a good thing)

So, Christian authors have a dual problem. They are a rejected minority for being a Christian and they work in a field where failure is an everyday occurrence.

If anyone understands humility, it would be a Christian author.

God has us right where he wants us and the world will be transformed because of it. We’ve prayed for revival and it is on its way. But not because of anything we did.

I assume the world will continue to react to the message of Christ the same as they did the first time he came. Many loved him, but most hated him.

The best Christian books are on their way. And it’s going to be pretty exciting to have a front row seat to the show.

While we might fail in this world, it is comforting to know one day, maybe soon, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus was right all along.

So let’s get to work.

 

35 Responses to Writing from Weakness

  1. Avatar
    Colleen November 8, 2016 at 5:06 am #

    This was so insightful and encouraging. Thank you so much. I am thrilled to be following this blog.

  2. Avatar
    Elaine Tomski November 8, 2016 at 5:11 am #

    Thanks Dan. You met a felt need today. Blessings to you!

  3. Avatar
    Heidi Gaul November 8, 2016 at 5:43 am #

    Thank you, Dan, for this message. I’ve rarely seen the hope and humility representing the Christian writer’s life so beautifully laid out. I’m looking forward to the future, to witnessing the silent, transforming power of words in action.

  4. Avatar
    Linda W. November 8, 2016 at 5:45 am #

    This was very, very powerful. I can’t help thinking of Jesus, who came in a position of humility. Look what marvelous things He did. 🙂

  5. Avatar
    Norma Brumbaugh November 8, 2016 at 5:46 am #

    Yes. I couldn’t agree more. It’s interesting, there is a hunger for the message of Christ/truth, but it is increasingly heard through the voice of authenticity. This authenticity is arrived at through the work of God in the person’s/writer’s/pastor’s life, which means a crushing, molding process has redefined them by making them into a new person who shines the light of Christ. The humbling comes as a result of this path because it is God-shaped. Thank you Dan.

  6. Avatar
    Connie Almony November 8, 2016 at 6:09 am #

    Wow!!! I have no more words. Just gonna share this one on social media so others can read it now.

    Thanks, Mr. Barlow

  7. Avatar
    Henry Styron November 8, 2016 at 6:30 am #

    Thank you. Very powerful and insightful.

  8. Avatar
    Tonia Woolever November 8, 2016 at 6:38 am #

    Thank you so much for this, Mr. Balow. Your words have encouraged me deeply, reminding me of things I have lived and forgotten in the crush of life recently. All the best things in my life have been born out of being nourished by God when life and people and my own self have left me hungry. I often drink in the words of those who have gone on to heaven and feel grateful that they left behind a body of wisdom and testimony of their own experience of God — also forged in times of weakness. I hope someday to join that company for the benefit of people I’ll never meet. Your words today have pushed back the sense of hopelessness and futility that has mounted in these days of seeing what our nation has become as we approach this Presidential election. Yes, Mr. Balow, let’s get do to work, that God may have His voice and His glory revealed to every hungry heart He gives us for audience.

  9. Avatar
    Kathy Harris November 8, 2016 at 7:06 am #

    I always enjoy your blogs, but this one motivated me to comment…. and to keep working, though imperfectly, to do my part. The extra blessing is that writing through weakness also allows God to heal “us” in the process. It can’t get any better than that!

  10. Avatar
    Richard New November 8, 2016 at 7:13 am #

    Some good thoughts here, Dan. Perhaps you could develop it further into a book of its own.

  11. Avatar
    Rebekah Love Dorris November 8, 2016 at 7:21 am #

    “Whatever success I or any other Christian experiences is a result of the repeated process of failure, correction, redemption and starting again.”

    Whew. So profound. So timely. So encouraging, today of all days! Thanks and God bless.

  12. Avatar
    Jesse Porter November 8, 2016 at 7:38 am #

    Sadly, humility has been and continues to be worn by Christians like the sackcloth and ashes of yesteryear were worn, first by mourners then by those who wished to be seen as religious. Popes, while clinging to power and prestige, donned beggar rags to display fake humility in carefully orchestrated public affairs. Forgive me for my cynicism, but I was brought up in church, where humility is too often, especially among the leadership, more a reflection of the publican’s prayer than the sinner’s. God save us from such.

    • Dan Balow
      Dan Balow November 8, 2016 at 8:04 am #

      Without question it is a “heart” issue. False humility like you describe is different than what I am talking about. Like being proud of being humble!

      Maybe I should have titled this Writing from Brokenness.

  13. Avatar
    Cynthia Herron November 8, 2016 at 7:43 am #

    Powerful. Best post of the day.

  14. Avatar
    Julie Sunne November 8, 2016 at 7:57 am #

    Love this encouragement, Dan! So hopeful. Thank you!

  15. Avatar
    Jay Payleitner November 8, 2016 at 8:15 am #

    So, let me get this straight. Neither a Cubs World Series Championship, nor today’s election is going to save us. Humility, servanthood, and giving glory to God are our best chance at true revival.

    Dan, you may be on to something here.

  16. Avatar
    cheryl November 8, 2016 at 9:17 am #

    On this election day, I’m not feeling very hopeful, but your insightful blog gives me hope. I’m going to keep your wise words close at hand. I’m praying for these Christian writers to emerge among us.

    Dan, maybe you should put this wisdom in a book for the world to see. Imagine if millions of discouraged, nonbelievers read your message and believed it. I’m always impressed by what you are lead by our God to say. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Avatar
    Davalynn Spencer November 8, 2016 at 9:29 am #

    Amen, amen, amen. “Whatever success I or any other Christian experiences is a result of the repeated process of failure, correction, redemption and starting again.” Thank you for reminding us of the long view.

  18. Avatar
    Diane November 8, 2016 at 9:53 am #

    “In the coming years, Christian books will be more powerful than ever before because they will be written from weakness, humility and a minority point of view…. As Christ-followers we know living in weakness and depending on God is far better than living in our own strength and depending on our own ability to influence…. Weakness and failure teach deeper things than strength and success. Humility is more attractive and compelling than self-confidence. Failure drives us towards God while success can make us self focused. Writing from weakness is better than writing from strength.”

    Amen. Thank you so much for this. I pray it becomes so…

  19. Avatar
    Maree Dee November 8, 2016 at 9:54 am #

    I second that Amen! God need to be our focus. Out of the ashes, beautiful things will come. I loved what you had to say. I can’t wait for the books.

  20. Avatar
    Rosie J Williams November 8, 2016 at 10:11 am #

    Thank you. Prior to writing my first book, I had some serous health issues. I was in a weakened state and totally dependent on God. I could not say…”I got this God”, but instead had to humble myself in His sight, and pray, and wait. It was a powerful experience that helped me to see the book as His words through me. Press on fellow writers…press on! God’s got this!

  21. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee November 8, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    Thank you for your encouraging words, Dan. We saw Sampson at Sight and Sound this past weekend- he also became weak but God used him once he surrendered his will.

  22. Avatar
    Lisa Taylor November 8, 2016 at 1:39 pm #

    Amen! I see this going on all around me: people who fought major depression because they’d been chasing “big ministry” for decades (ministry through their impressive talents). Then they make themselves vulnerable, come into the light, get healed and find themselves able to truly minister (out of their weakness) in ways that are deeply fulfilling.

    Just one more thought on the “failing others” idea: even in publishing God is God. He will redeem everything and use it for His glory. Including the “failure” of an agent, a publisher, an editorial board, etc. We aren’t limited to the world’s definition of success. 🙂

  23. Avatar
    Carol Ashby November 8, 2016 at 2:09 pm #

    Dan, you wrote, “We prayed for revival and I believe it is imminent, but not because governments and courts are on our side, but because they are not. Revival will come because God is on our side.”

    Amen to this! We’re seeing some of the fastest growing communities of believers where “Christian” isn’t a social label related to an ancestor’s faith but a true commitment to Jesus as savior and Lord. Often that comes with a high cost. In the 2nd century during the Roman persecutions, Tertullian wrote “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church.” The horrors wrought by ISIS have led thousands of Muslims to come to Jesus as their savior, even if they might die for that decision. It may never be that we are executed in American city plazas, but we’re already the one group that it’s socially acceptable to mock. When we respond with love and logic, God can use us as tools to crack the shells on hardened hearts. It’s not that I want God on my side: I want to be on His.

  24. Avatar
    Brennan McPherson November 8, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

    Yes, yes, yes! Beautiful post, Dan! Blessings, brother! Thanks for the encouragement.

  25. Avatar
    Pat Davis November 9, 2016 at 10:40 am #

    Thank you, Dan, for your powerful and encouraging words that speak truth to the heart. God bless your ministry for Him.

  26. Avatar
    Michael Emmanuel November 10, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    Reading this post made me weep. Had to wait a day before commenting.
    I have a fear. I’m afraid these writers would not take the lunge, that they’d greatly underestimate the stories given to them, stories written to transform the lives of some and assure others.
    I’m afraid they’d doubt their abilities, and wouldn’t see the light of God shining upon their weaknesses.
    I’m afraid they’d fear being unprofessional, or being too young, and opt to wait for a better time to work.
    I’m afraid I’m one of them.

    • Avatar
      Carol Ashby November 10, 2016 at 10:35 am #

      Michael, I can already see that you will never be one of them.
      You’ve already put your hand to the plow, and I’m sure you will never turn back.

      • Avatar
        Michael Emmanuel November 11, 2016 at 3:50 am #

        Amen.
        Thank you very much Mrs. Ashby. Sometimes, it gets so hard.

  27. Avatar
    Ann L. Coker December 2, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    When I saw your name in the acknowledgements for Scott Douglas’s book, #Organic Jesus, it was gratifying to recognize you from the Steve Laube posts. As I read “Writing from Weakness,” I see how you and Scott connected so well. Your post could have been included in his book, for you think alike. Thanks for the takeaway with staying power.

  28. Avatar
    Jeanette Hanscome December 6, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    “Weakness and failure teach deeper things than strength and success. Humility is more attractive and compelling than self-confidence. Failure drives us towards God while success can make us self focused. Writing from weakness is better than writing from strength.”

    I love this! It’s true in our writing and in our everyday connections with people. Thank you, Dan!

  29. Avatar
    Janet Ann Collins December 6, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

    What a profound post!

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