I recently spoke with a woman who was frustrated with her writing journey. She hadn’t been published although she’d been toiling for many years. She was working on a new project, an exploration of the idea that God doesn’t always “show up” for us in the ways we want or expect Him to. She felt led by God to write this book. The irony is that the woman was complaining that God wasn’t showing up to help her write her book. It was hard. She was struggling through the process. Where was God? If He asked her to write the book, why wasn’t He showing up to help?
This made me think of the idea of “the promised land.” God may lead us to something and He may be promising something, but there is often a LOT of time and a LOT of hard work to get there. He didn’t open up the promised land five minutes after he promised it to Abraham… I believe it was somewhere near 500 years until the Israelites saw it. The cost and the struggle were legendary. Similarly, it has always amazed me that God promised Abraham and Sarah a child… but it was twenty more years until the child was born. Twenty years! There are dozens (hundreds?) more examples in the Bible that illustrate the fact that God doesn’t make it easy for us to accomplish the tasks He sets before us. And time for Him is so different from how we perceive it.
I think about all the people who follow God deep into the wilderness (both literal and figurative) to accomplish His will, to help others, or to attempt to bring people into the kingdom. There are always obstacles, often life threatening, and there is often failure. Sometimes that person who is doing God’s will NEVER sees any positive results from it before they die.
Does that mean God didn’t show up? Just because he doesn’t remove obstacles and make the path easier, does it mean He’s not in it? Obviously that’s not the case. In fact, feeling led by God to do something is almost a guarantee that it will be hard!
I just want you to keep that in mind as you toil away on your writing, believing you are doing it because He calls you to it. Don’t lose faith because it’s not easy. Don’t question your calling just because it’s hard. Don’t be mad at God for not showing up with a publishing contract.
Most especially, don’t question your calling simply because you’re not having “success” in your quest to get published. Truly, you have no idea what God intends to do with your writing. Traditional publishing is totally a man-made construct; success there bears no relationship to success as God defines it. His definition will be different for each individual, but I think the key lies in obedience. Success is following Him whether it’s hard or easy, whether it appears successful in human terms or not.
Ultimately the “promised land” will be to hear “well done, my good and faithful servant.” Beyond that, we just don’t have any idea what God has in mind.
Q4U: Where are you in relation to The Promised Land? Has it been smooth sailing or strewn with roadblocks? Do you feel God shows up?
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Rachelle Gardner is a Christian literary agent affiliated with WordServe Literary Group in Colorado.