Recently I encouraged a dear friend who is living through a trial to keep a daily journal of what God is doing in his life. My suggestion grew out of personal experience. On the shelf before me is a stack of leather-bound books. They are deeply personal and very precious to me.
Occasionally I sit alone and skim the pages. Many entries were made on bright days, filled with joy. And then there are the others. The more important ones.
It is the pages penned in darkness, lines written with tears, that are now the most meaningful. Those were the days God was teaching me the most precious truths about Himself and His grace.
Wordsworth once observed that he had his best thoughts come to him in the middle of the night. Because of this, he taught himself to write in the dark. Arthur Gossip commented on this in his book, The Hero in Thy Soul, “We, too, had better learn the art of writing in the dark. For it were indeed tragic to bear the pain, yet lose what it was sent to teach us.”
Here is the point: the greatest things in the world have been written in the most difficult seasons of life.
What if David had not shared his heart when he walked through the valley of the shadow of death? What if Jeremiah had not written through his tears? What if Paul had refused to use the pen in prison? What if John had not recorded what he saw while exiled on the island of Patmos?
You and I are not writing inspired Scripture! But you may be writing the very thing someone else will need on the hardest day of their life. “No man liveth to himself.” The experiences of life – and the record of them – are not just resources for your future. They become a well of truth for others to draw from.
“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them who are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (2 Cor. 1:4).
No one has read my journals, but many have heard the truths that are in them. We speak and minister out of the overflow of our own walk with God. Experiences cannot always be shared; truth can be. It should be.
There are many reasons to write in a journal. (Read my post on the 10 reasons I write in a journal here.) It frees your mind. It helps you reflect on what is truly important. It encourages gratitude. Most of all, it becomes the means by which you can minister to many others. Keep a journal, but do not keep it to yourself.
Purchase a nice journal. Find a pen you enjoy using. Write a few lines at the close of each day. You will be glad you did…and so will someone else.