Friday, August 24, 2018

Glimpsing God in the Frustrations of the Writer’s Life


By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Do you ever wonder what in the world God is doing in this crazy writing life?

God, why did I work so hard on that article only to have it rejected? 

God, why was that piece chosen, but the one I really love not selected? 

God, why did I spend nine months of my life on that project, only to have it sit in my computer going nowhere and reaching no one?

God, why do you fill my head with ideas to write about and wake me up in the middle of the night, then don’t grow my blog as quickly as I’d hoped?

God, if I’m obeying your call to write, why is it so hard?

God, what are you doing in this crazy writing life of mine????

If you can relate to any of these questions, there’s hope. Hope that comes, of all places, from the book of Job.

Imagine that.

God is laughing already.

Who would think that a man who had lost ten children in a tragic accident, went from millionaire to pauper in a day, and was married to a cruel, faithless woman would have any hope to offer? But in God’s upside down economy, it’s not surprising at all.

My current WIP (on editors’ desks right now, please pray) is a devotional that spotlights uncommon verses buried in the vast expanse of the Bible. Job 26:14 is one of them. In the twenty-sixth chapter of the book that bears his name, he rehearses for his “miserable comforters” the might, power, and majesty of God. 

“He hangs the earth on nothing,” he says. “He binds up the water in His thick clouds . . . He stirs up the sea with His power . . . By His Spirit He adorned the heavens . . . (v. 7-13)”

Then he concludes with this awe-struck realization:

“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?"

The mere edges of his ways. 

I grew up on the rocky shores of Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island. I’d often sit at the shoreline, walk in the shallows, or swim out until my feet barely touched the bottom. Because I had lived around the sea all my life, I thought I knew it well. 

Then one day I boarded a ship that took me hundreds of miles off shore, where the water stretched from horizon to horizon and the ocean floor lay miles beneath me. Only then did I begin to understand the true nature of the ocean. Before that, I had experienced the mere edges – and how small a whisper they had been.

After pointing out our nearsighted perspective, Job lifts the fog on the ocean of God’s ways: “But the thunder of his power, who can understand?”

Paul, in First Corinthians, says it like this: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (2:9). And, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (13:12).

As Christian writers bound to the earth by our mortality, we glimpse only the mere edges of His ways. And hear only small whispers of Him.

But one day we’ll sail out into the vast expanse of no-time life. We’ll hear the clarion call of his mighty voice. We’ll witness the thunder of his power. And we will understand.

Every word typed in obedience to him? Seed for the harvest.

Every hour spent hunched over a keyboard? Sandpaper smoothing the edges.

Every late night and early morning session? A fragrant offering.

Every pitch and proposal sent out for his glory? Stepping stones on the journey.

Job can speak into our angst and impatience because he, too, was a frustrated author. He shared our desire to see our words published. He, too, wanted others to benefit from the insight he had received. “I wish that my words were recorded and inscribed in a book,” he lamented in Job 19:23.

I’m not sure what steps his publishing journey included, (I suspect it contained a ghost writer), but I know none of his experiences or his words were wasted. Even today, thousands of years later, God still uses his insight to encourage us along the way.

Perhaps, one day, God will use our words to do the same.

“God is not unjust;” the writer of Hebrews promises, “he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Heb. 6:10).

Now it’s your turn. What verse encourages you when you feel discouraged? Leave a comment and encourage us all.

TWEETABLES


Lori Hatcher is the editor of Reach Out, Columbiamagazine and the author of two devotional books, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Womenand Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms.A blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker, her goal is to help women connect with God in the craziness of life You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter(@LoriHatcher2), or Pinterest(Hungry for God).

16 comments:

  1. Lori, thank you for your encouragement. One verse that sustains me is Psalm 138: 8: "The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me."

    Blessings on you and your writing!

    MaryAnn

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    1. I love that one, MaryAnn. I just read a similar verse in Job,

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  2. This! What a beautiful way to envision the edges of God's power and glory. While you wrote this for writers, it's really for grieving parents who have lost a child. I know many who would be blessed by this.

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    1. Yes! Isn’t that the beauty of God’s Word? One truth and so many applications. It truly is a living book.

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  3. Thank you for this post, such a beautiful reminder of His majesty. I look forward to reading your book.

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    1. God is SO good, Cheryl, and we see only tiny glimpses. But oh, when we do ...!

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  4. Psalm 62:8 Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to Him.

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  5. Ms. Lori. I find myself questioning, doubting, and worrying more since I started writing for God than I ever did writing million dollar proposals in the aerospace industry. It's an innate fear of failing my Father's calling I think. Thank you so very much for sharing these encouraging words. Learning to trust, and leave our worries with, God is perhaps the most difficult part of being a Christian writer. We are just His tools after all. God's blessings ma'am.

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    1. I agree, Jim. The weight of responsibility weighs heaviest when we're working for the Lord. The stakes are high, and the calling both exhilarating and terrifying. This is why we must bathe every keystroke in prayer, study to rightly divide the Word, and keep short accounts with God so his Spirit won't be hindered in our lives. 'Tis a fearsome, exhilarating call, one that keeps us on our knees, which is right where we need to be. Blessings to you!

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  6. Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. ESV

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    1. I'm so thankful it is HE who is directing our paths, Melissa, aren't you? Thanks for sharing today.

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  7. I love the sky. Clouds, rainbows, sunrises, sunsets, the moon fascinate me. My phone photo album contains almost as many sky photos as it does horses. And every time I look into that expanse I realize it's only a small portion, the edge that touches the earth, that I can see. I'm awestruck by the idea of the More of God. So much more.

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  8. When I worked for NASA, I had the chance to stand in the science control room and watch the pictures the crew sent down from the shuttle when they were in orbit. I'll never forget the images of the earth. An unbelievable panorama that brings glory to God!

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    1. Wow. What an experience, Sherry. That might just change your perspective forever ... sounds like it has!

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