Christians have been called the hands and feet of Jesus. Sometimes, when I've considered that God has met me in a time of need, it's been through people with just the right word of encouragement, a small gift or a bit of warm feedback showing that I'm on the right track. We may see people looking at us with such love in their expressions, it is as if Jesus is looking at us through their eyes. The blessings He provides may come through people rolling up their sleeves and giving a physical helping hand. Most of us have probably been both on the giving and receiving end of such blessings, which is great. But I find just as often, the touch from God will come through a book.
I believe books have the potential to be a mega-blessing because when they go into print, there is no limit to the impact they can make. They are like prayers to God and messages from God in print. If they come in the form of fiction, we may experience valuable truths with the characters, without having to go through their ordeals. And if they come in the form of biography or fact, it's exactly the same. We get to benefit from the insights and wisdom of people down through the ages.
As a reader, I've found myself looking for paper and a pen to copy quotes full of beauty, encouragement or inspiration. Often, these moments have spoken to my heart just when I needed them. And just as often, the authors have no longer been with us for many years. I've learned deeply from people such as Jane Austen, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Henry David Thoreau, and many others who weren't as well known. Even though these people are long gone, the flames they've ignited are still setting off a fresh combustion in people's hearts to this day.
As a writer, I've sometimes knelt in prayer, seeking answers, and then a sudden rush of ideas will kindle my heart and thoughts, which my gut instinct tells me is right on the mark. Our moments of inspiration and hard work may go on influencing others for centuries, for all we know. How wonderful to think that we don't need to focus too hard on any visible results of our writing we may perceive in the short term, for the ripples our words are making may continue for a century or more after we've written them. How great to think that for years after a book is written, it may still be changing and challenging readers' minds, filling them with new hope or much-needed entertainment, giving them fresh ideas, although these ideas, as far as we're concerned, are old and long past.
It's great to think that all the books written by contributors to this blog may even now, be entertaining and touching people's hearts without our knowledge. I'm glad books have this type of hands and feet.
Paula Vince is the award-winning author of several contemporary Christian romances with elements of mystery and suspense. She lives in South Australia's beautiful Adelaide Hills with her family. Her most recent novel, 'Imogen's Chance' will be published in April 2014.