Sunday, March 13, 2022

When Our Writing Life is Stripped Bare

By Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

The bushes, once loaded, were bare.

For the first time in a long time, I had a large garden plot that produced well. When the spring crops finished, I planted purple hull peas. I had not planted them in some years, but I loved them and looked forward to cooking them and covering my white rice with them and the “pot liquor” (juice, for those not from the South). 

Another advantage of purple hull peas is that the peas stand atop the bush. No stooping and hunting to find the fruit. As I walked along my garden each day, I marveled at the plethora of blooms and then peas that appeared. I couldn’t wait to pick and shell them. 

Several days before my planned picking, my wife and I took a two-day trip to see our family. Back in the spring, the deer had nosed around my garden, so I had erected a string fence and decorated it with pie plates that shone in the sunlight and jingled in the wind. The deer had gone—or so I thought. 

Arriving back from our trip, I took our small dog for a walk along a path that carried me past the garden. Something looked strange . . . and was. I couldn’t figure it out initially, but with careful observation, I solved the puzzle. The peas were gone. Not the bushes, but all the fruit. Stripped bare. Not a one left. Deer had intruded and enjoyed my anticipated harvest. 

To say I felt distraught is an understatement. To say I was angry is more accurate. Had I owned a rifle, I would have hunted each one of them down. Of course, they were just doing what deer do: grazing on any and everything that attracts them. 

Although we didn’t get peas that year, God did give us many other vegetables from our garden: corn, butter beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and squash. I couldn’t complain . . . but I did. 

Joel wrote to God’s people, telling them of God’s approaching judgment because of their disobedience. But he also gave them hope. 

“The Lord says, ‘I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts. It was I who sent this great destroying army against you.’” (Joel 2:25 NLT).

Although God would strip them bare by sending them into seventy years of foreign captivity, he told the people of a time when they would be restored to their homeland. What the locusts stripped, God would return. The stripping wouldn’t last forever. 

Sometimes, God himself does the stripping, and at other times, he allows our spiritual enemy to do the work. Either way, God controls the stripping. Yet, he never does it without purpose. Disobedience always leads to stripping, but God may simply be preparing us for something he has planned for us in the future. It could be that our priorities have gotten mixed up, and God needs to send a little trouble to get our attention and reorient our focus. 

We writers are familiar with the stripping. Agents who won’t represent us. Publishers who reject our book manuscripts, articles, poems, or devotions. Sometimes without even the courtesy of a response or reason why. Poor book sales don’t help either. In such times, we must trust God’s timing and his plan. If he has called us to write, he will open the doors that match his plan. 

God’s stripping is never enjoyable, but if we respond properly, good things will result. He may not give us more tangible things than we have lost—and our book may never make the best-seller’s list—but God will give us things money can’t buy and joy that possessions can’t bring. Things such as stamina, maturity, trust, and stronger faith. Sometimes, we can’t measure the more God restores. And sometimes, what we write may only be for one person. 

God always restores more than he strips away. Ask him to help you trust him when he brings a little stripping in your life.


Martin Wiles is the founder of Love Lines from God ( and serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions, Senior Editor for Inspire a Fire, and Proof Editor for Courier Publishing. He has authored six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, DON'T JUST LIVE...REALLY LIVE, debuted in October of 2021. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, author, and pastor.


  1. Thank you, Mr Wiles. What a loving rebuke, and a well-written one at that!

  2. Thank you for the reminder to trust God in all the seasons of our writing lives.

  3. As a farm girl (with lots of hungry deer), your message really resonated with me. Thank you for taking your anger and frustration and writing an inspiring and helpful message. You brought forth fruit from those bare branches. Thank you.