Saturday, September 09, 2006

Believing God

“So tell me,” I asked my friend. “Where does one draw the line between Believing God for Great Things, and setting oneself up for disappointment?”

I mean, after all … it seems that as soon as you count on something in this life, it’s a sure thing you won’t get it. Right?

And yet … and yet.

I felt the answer deep in my spirit just before her reply flashed back to me. “I don’t think we’re supposed to draw that line.”

Divine risk. Elation winged through me at the thought. Our culture is so driven to make life as safe and sanitized and risk-free as possible. Wear your seatbelt. Helmet and elbow pads. Vaccinations. Antibiotics for the common cold, in case it turns into more. Don’t let kids play dodgeball or Red Rover, and put that stick down because you might put someone’s eye out. The brutal truth is that people do die in car accidents, or get concussions, or contract whooping cough, or get ruptured spleens from playing too roughly. But what do we get in exchange for refusing to take any risks at all? Not a guarantee of a perfect life, surely.

But I’m as cowardly as the next person, despite having given birth six out of nine times at home, and various other foolhardy things my husband and I have done in the name of God’s will. (Can you hear the facetiousness in my voice as I say that?) Last night I suggested to two of my friends that I might not pitch anything at all at the upcoming conference. I have nothing significant written on my historical yet (two pages; big deal!), and nobody’s buying fantasy from an unknown author. (Besides, my appointment is with Dave Long, and I already know he’s SO not going to be impressed with me.)

Both of my friends—as good friends should, I suppose—practically reached right through the internet and slapped me upside the head.

Which led to the above question.

To my frustration, we Genesis finalists are being advised to prepare an under-30-second speech, just in case we win in our category. (What do people think this is, the Christys?) I want to ignore this injunction, because I’m pretty sure I won’t win. Pretty sure it won’t matter if I do. And yet my traitor heart still hopes against hope that I will, and that somehow this is the year I get noticed, and … and … and ….

Tracey’s words from last September still echo in my head. “This is your year.” Spoken during the weekend of Rosh Hashana, the beginning of a new year by Hebrew reckoning—and according to many, true timekeeping. The conference is being held, once again, on Rosh Hashana. The last time I tried to get all cynical about those words, I felt a soft whisper telling me, “The year isn’t over yet.”

My place of late is one of standard-bearer. I pray, I encourage, I cheer for others. I’ve become shy of hoping for too much for myself. And yet I can almost see the secretive smile on the face of God as He whispers, “Come on. Believe me. Just jump—I’ll catch you.”

He gave me a verse already for the conference—Joshua 3:5, “Sanctify [or consecrate] yourselves, for tomorrow God will work wonders among you.” Yes, we started another Beth Moore study. I was sad to say goodbye to “The Patriarchs”—and my parting nugget from that study was an observation about how God may tell one person to go where He has forbidden another. But I’ve been waiting with not a little trepidation—because this time our study leader chose “Believing God.”

Needless to say, however, it was—wonderful. And strongest in my mind this evening is the image of the priests who, while carrying the Ark of the Covenant, symbol of the glory and mercy of God, were required to step into the water of the Jordan River before the water would part, clearing the way for the people of Israel to cross over into the Promised Land.

All right, Lord. I’m stepping in.

8 comments:

  1. Love the post. LOVE it!

    It feels exactly where I'm at.

    When I heard a sermon a number of years ago about Abraham going because God told him to pick up and leave, not knowing where it was he was headed. Shortly thereafter I quit teaching to write full time.

    Of late, it's been Gideon: his undersized army numbered in the tens of thousands, but that dropped to thousands. Still too many, so God cut it to a few hundred--so no one would miss that the victory was of His.

    So, here we are. You stepping into the water and me marching toward battle. Not to mention Beth, Mir, Rebecca, Sherry. YIKES!

    This contest can't be the answer to all of our prayers, can it.

    And still, God is good, doing what He knows is best.

    I needed to write that to get some perspective. I sort flipped when I got that e-mail about preparing a speech. I still can't quite figure how to approach that.

    Is it possible too much is being made of this contest??

    BTW, I'm glad you're meeting with Dave Long. Maybe if he keeps meeting with enough of us, he'll start looking at fantasy in a new light.

    Becky

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  2. Becky, I really think they're just trying to make the contest "nice." :-) 30 seconds isn't very long ... and everyone will probably just thank their crit partners and spouses and kids and pet ferret that provides inspiration ... oh, wait, maybe not the ferret. ;-)

    That reminds me, though ... I need new waterproof mascara. I only buy it once a year, for conference.

    Oh, and thanks for sharing. It's comforting I'm not the only one feeling--weird--right now.

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  3. Okay, y'all--at least you finaled. :-D Had to say that. Come on--rejoice in your accomplishments!!

    and shannon--you're right, I am a good friend, but taht wasn't why I said it so much as I know you have a bounty of talent and gifts. Unleash them on this unsuspecting world!! Bwahahahahahaha! :-D

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  4. :-) Yikes! This is edge-of-your-seat stuff!

    I'm going to stay tuned to see how this turns out!

    Do you have a pet ferret??

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  5. Ha ha, Elliot! Very funny. :-D

    Yes, we have a pet ferret. His name is Samwise and he's a Most Excellent Ferret. Maybe I'll blog about him one day.

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  6. No, really, I'm curious to see if you do get that prize!

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  7. Well, in that case ... *curtseys low* you are very kind!

    *spares Elliot the long, rambly account of my struggle to realize it's more in the journey than "winning a prize" or "getting published ...*

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  8. Well, that's true. It's about trusting God! But still, He rarely gets you to trust him without wanting to lead you somewhere, right? :-) Maybe not this time, but...

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