I spent a good portion of yesterday evening trying to figure out what topic to explore for a writing contest. The submission was due today. I hadn’t even been aware of the competition until this week. But, I decided that, since contestants were required to submit no more than 2,500 words in the inspirational category, it was probably worth the investment of my time. Ten, twelve pages tops. No biggie. I’d pulled “all-nighters” in college requiring more.
Well, to coin a phrase, “Fiction ain’t fair.” Sometimes inspiration simply eludes the inspirational writer. I couldn’t think of anything new. I tried every writer’s prompt in the book—surveyed support sites online, searched song and book titles, reviewed scriptures—you name it. To be honest, I kept coming back to a story I’d begun some weeks ago that I’d put aside after five or six pages. But, I was saving that story for something bigger—a novella. It just didn’t seem right to confine my epic story of loss, redemption and love to a short story segment. With the clock ticking, though, I yielded to the inevitable.
Long story short, I completed the narrative at about 2:15 this morning. And, you know what? I was wrong. The story proved far more powerful in the condensed format than what it promised to become after 20-25,000 words. I learned a powerful lesson from that experience, and I want to share it with you.
When I arrived at work this morning, the words, “He knows the way that I take” went rippling through my subconscious. So, I “tweeted” them. I thought perhaps the Lord wanted me to share that thought with someone else. After awhile, I realized they were for me, so I read the scripture in context.
The author of Job 23:10 wrote, “But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”
Job penned those words during a period of profound bewilderment. Having lost everything, he’d been searching for God—desiring an opportunity to plead his case before Him. Job even considered his own behavior for, perhaps, the hundredth time since that fateful day of disappointment. In Job 23:11-12, he said, “My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” In other words: “Why me?”
Ultimately, Job concluded that God did as he pleased: “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth” Job 23:13.
Last night, I wanted to write something new, something fresh; but, God had other plans. I struggled against “giving up” my treasured story. I pleaded for another option. I prayed for divine inspiration. And, then, I did the only thing I could do—His will. He’d placed me squarely on the prickly writing path that led to submission. I have to assume that—because He knows the way that I take—He’s got this whole writing competition thing under control. Maybe it has nothing to with that at all. Maybe He simply wants me to trust Him. You may have noticed this is a recurring theme for me. How about you?