Last week, I was frazzled. We were planning a major trip in October (a wedding and a grandchild’s birthday). I needed to get ahead of my writing schedule so that I had more time to prepare for the trip. We had other things that we were working on also. The next week was filled with appointments. I couldn’t catch up then. Then, the following week we would be on the road.
And to top it off, I was getting writer’s block. Okay, my haphazardness is topics is based on what I feel inspired to write. That leads to the problem of not being ‘inspired’ on demand. I wanted to hurry, and God was telling me to wait.
I confess. I was worrying and not resting in faith enough. I still did my devotions and separate Bible reading. I still spent time in prayer, but nothing bubbled up to the surface.
Then one day, I finished reading a book by Dr. David Jeremiah, and I picked up Mark Batterson’s book, All In. I read just a few pages that first day. I read about the missionaries that packed their things in a coffin to signify that they were not coming back home. That’s a sobering thought. It’s more of a sacrifice than spending my awake hours in front of a computer screen. I started thinking about each of us when we accept Jesus as our savior. The salvation prayer only works if it is an “all in” moment. That night after starting the new book, I picked up Oswald Chambers as the last thing before the lights went out. The devotion for the day was about the cost of discipleship described in Luke 9 and answering, or rejecting, the call.
The next day, I read more from Mark Batterson, including the story of the Rich Young Ruler. During the day, my cell phone rang. I didn’t recognize the caller ID, an 800 number, so I didn’t answer the call. In fact, the call came when I needed some quiet time, so I pressed the Reject button on the cell phone screen. I had previously never paid attention to the button. That night, Oswald Chambers talked about the Rich Young Ruler. My mind was thinking, “Hmmm, two different authors in the same day on the same subject, a possible GMC (God-Made Coincidence)”, but it hadn’t really clicked yet. Two days in a row with similar topics for my reading is usually more than it takes to wake me up. I must not have realized how deep the funk was.
The next morning, I went to the basement to start writing. I had no idea what to write about, but I had to do something. I studied old notes, but nothing jumped out. Anytime I have confusion about direction, I allow anything to distract me. The cell phone notifications said that I had a voice mail. It was the call that I had rejected the day before. Our hotel reservations for the late-October wedding (one of the reasons for the long trip) were canceled. If I had answered the phone, a service person would have helped me make new reservations. The wedding was in Beaumont, Texas, and we knew that there could be issues due to Hurricane Harvey. I called the number that the caller had given, but I could never get through to a human. There was a computer glitch, redirecting you back to the computer instead of a service person. I had to make new reservations on my own. That was easy enough, but the voice mail sounded like they would have sweetened the pot due to the cancelation (bonus points, a free night, something), if I had only answered the phone. I had not just let it ring, I had rejected the call.
That gave me an idea for one post about Rejected Calls. As I started writing, the Holy Spirit began to give me fresh insight. I realized to give any good coverage to the scripture, it needed to be more than one post. Within four hours, I had five posts. Suddenly, I was nearly a week ahead of schedule, just before our week of every day appointments. I could fit editing in between appointments. God had answered my prayers, as usual, just on time. My writer’s block was broken, and God had blessed me with a fresh look at a part of the scriptures. The last part of Luke 9 is called “The Cost of Discipleship (or Following Jesus)”. The focus is never on those that rejected the call.
To top it off, the subtitle of the fifth post would not come to me as I was writing. I tried two or three things. None seemed to work. Whatever I chose, the subtitle had to tie everything together. Then I thought of a song, but I wasn’t sure about the title or the exact lyrics. I used a search engine and found what I thought was the right song, but I needed to hear it to be sure. I clicked on what I thought was a link for a video and a different song, by Carly Simon, started playing – another computer glitch. She sang, “Every time we say good-bye, I die … a little.” My knees started to shake, and my eyes started to tear up. I had grown up listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing that song, but I hadn’t been looking for the right words then. When we say good-bye to someone, we distract ourselves from God. When we turn our backs on God to do something that may seem important, we die … a little.
As for the writer’s block, the schedule, the to-do list before a trip, all are distractions. When we quit worrying, and we start to wait for God’s answer, He answers in powerful ways, and on time. Bible study and prayer should be consistent, but not with anxiety. Never doubt Him.
Borrowing from a Jerry Clower book title, “Ain’t God Good!”