Overcoming Obstacles

Photo credit: Melissa Bowersock. Used by permission.

Photo credit: Melissa Bowersock. Used by permission.

“Maybe God means all of these troubles to show me that I’m not supposed to be a writer.”

Ever feel that way? Somebody tell me I’m not the only one.

Choosing a writing career means facing insecurity and rejection, and it means waiting, patiently or otherwise. When I got my first subscription to Writer’s Digest in 1996, I’m pretty sure that rejection and waiting were the first two things I learned. The insecurity part I figured out on my own.

Being called to a writing ministry, on the other hand, means everything God-ordained will be easy and fun, right? No?

The book of Nehemiah might be some of the bluntest, most direct reading in Scripture. Though the Jewish captivity had ended, there was still work to be done in Jerusalem, namely, a city wall to rebuild.

Even though the hand of God was on Nehemiah as he asked the king’s permission to oversee the work, and even though he prophesized that God would give them success, the task was enormous and they battled naysayers and saboteurs besides. God provided the way but didn’t remove the obstacles. The people might have assumed that the mockeries and conspiracies meant they weren’t being blessed and the work wasn’t ordained. They did get discouraged, in fact, but Nehemiah stepped up.

“When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people: ‘Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.’” – Nehemiah 4:14

This is why I love the book of Nehemiah. Remember the Lord is great and awesome.

A couple of things occur to me. First, writing a book is a cakewalk next to leaving captivity, returning from exile, and rebuilding the Temple and the city walls while surrounded by enemies. No contest.

Second, when it feels less like a cakewalk and more like you and I are trying to build something with one hand and fend off detractors (and distractions and discouragement) with the other, we have a God who makes a way and a simple, plainspoken word to bolster us for the work. Remember the Lord is great and awesome.

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