By Tanara McCauley
Earlier this year my husband took me to see Andrea Bocelli in concert. Already a fan, I thought I knew what to expect from the world-renowned tenor whose voice makes even my six-year-old close her eyes in appreciative awe. I was mistaken.
Accompanied by a host of musicians, Mr. Bocelli conducted half of the concert in English and the second half in Italian. His voice carried each word beautifully–words devoid of any mention of God.
And yet I found myself worshipping.
To hear that live sound reverberate across the auditorium was to know a Designer had crafted it, and to understand what it means to be “fearfully and wonderfully made.” God, in His personal and intimate mindfulness, handcrafted each soul and endowed it with unique purpose and gifts, primarily to bring Him glory.
Mr. Bocelli is operating in the gift God gave him. And whether he sings words of praise, or words of love and loss, the very sound testifies to the existence of God. It brings tears to the eyes and makes a heart cry “Praise You Father” when the mind is left speechless.
I’ve read books like that. I’ve responded in kind to movies, or while watching dancers dance. To witness someone doing what God has created them to do is to get a glimpse of His glory.
Many of us were created to write–to fashion worlds out of the infinite imagination God has given us, or to construct characters so real we’re tempted to ask Him to whip them up and have them waiting for us in heaven. It’s a stretch, but He knows we’re dreamers.
The stories we’re capable of writing are limitless, because our creative gift comes from the ultimate Gift-giver, whose thoughts toward us are precious and plentiful. But sometimes, in the midst of a frantic race to get published, we beat the gift into a quiet little corner of submission and put the focus on worldly success.
It’s easy to look at someone else’s bestseller and try to write what they write or how they write. Even though we’re still writing, we’re doing it from an inauthentic place, letting the chains of mimicry stifle our potential to glorify God. Some of us will sacrifice a story, even a genre, pursuing tangible affirmation in the form of a contract or books sold.
Yet if we’re brave enough–if we’ll let the thrill of adventure outweigh the fear of uncertainty–our minds can’t fathom what effect our stories can have on the world, nor the praise they can provoke in God’s name.
Andrea Bocelli should not have lived. His parents were advised to abort him because doctors knew he would be born imperfect. The enemy must have known the effect that voice would have on a worshipper’s heart. And Mr. Bocelli uses it often, singing songs he wants to sing with passion and intent, ignoring the negative criticism he often receives from the classical music realm.
Dare we be so bold? Dare we write these heart stories that to others sound impractical, indulgent, uber-holy, not holy enough, controversial, sticky sweet, or just plain strange?
Let God’s fearfully and wonderfully made writers craft stories fearfully and wonderfully written. Let us trust Him to make the journey thrilling, and the outcome His own version of marvelous. And may people we’ll never meet read the stories we were brave enough to write; and in doing so know there is a God who is worthy of all their heart’s praise.
Tanara McCauley is a writer of Contemporary Fiction with romance and suspense elements. She is a member of ACFW and CWOW, and a contributing author to Thriving Family. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three kids and is working on her third novel. Visit her website at www.tanaramccauley.com.