Prolific author James N. Watkins inspired the Indiana chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers at our luncheon meeting in Kokomo today. An eavesdropper may have thought it was a support group for victims, because Watkins shared his own fight with cancer, unexpected downsizing at work, conflicts with teenage children, etc. But he also told us how these experiences became the source of his best writing. He said:

Terrible things don’t happen to Christian writers; they’re just terrific anecdotes.

He read to us some e-mails from readers who are dealing with terminal cancer, the sudden death of a child, chronic depression, and a host of other adverse circumstances–to thank him for the encouragement they found in his articles and books.

One on the brink of suicide said, “Your article saved my life tonight.”

Another finished reading his book on grief the night her teenage daughter died in an automobile crash.

And on it goes… 

When God’s grace touches our “terrible” circumstances, we can pass it on. God can use that sharing to transform something terrible into a terrific gift. Just ask Jim Watkins.