Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Faithful No

Having to promote your own books is a daunting business. It can also be quite frustrating at times.

There's a large church near where I live that often has large events. Thinking about selling books, I clicked into their website to see if there was anything coming up. I was hoping they might allow me to set up a book table. I was glad to see there was an event coming up almost immediately, one that I decided I wanted to attend, so I e-mailed the woman in charge with my idea.

She e-mailed back right away but the answer was no. She explained that her committee thought it might be too much of a distraction. That did not brighten my mood. Other doors had closed that week and as I looked at the total number of books I have managed to sell in the past year, I became discouraged. In fact, I was downright depressed. I sat at my computer that day and thought, why am I hitting my head against this brick wall? I was sorely tempted to quit.
But I went to the event. It was a simulcast - a live video feed - with Beth Moore, speaking from a church in Louisville Kentucky. As I walked into the sanctuary that Friday evening, I wasn't feeling in the mood - I was still angry and frustrated and, underneath, wondered why God wasn't helping me to get the word out about my books. The video began and I found it did nothing to help. The sound was a bit wobbly and the music seemed "canned." I thought, oh yeah, here we go with another hyped-up performance that will leave me cold.

Then Beth Moore began to speak. Slowly her passion and sincerity began to break through. Her humour broke the heaviness. And I began to listen for what God was saying to me. He said plenty. Then the worship group came back on and suddenly the music lifted me into that place of praise and worship. By the end of the evening I was in tears at God's wonderful grace and mercy and unconditional love. I felt ashamed at my lack of trust. I knew my discouragement was a slap in God's face.

The next day was more of the same. I don't think it was a coincidence that Mrs. Moore spoke from Luke 8, which lays out the parable of the sower and talks about those who hear but don't respond, those who in "the time of testing fall away," and those who "hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures and they do not mature."
I left that place with a renewed sense of how alive my God is, how good, and how faithful. Best of all, I had a renewed passion for His Word. And I was so glad for that faithful "no." Had I been concerned with selling books I would have been distracted from what God wanted to say to me. I might not have heard Him at all.

As I read the rest of Luke 8 at home later, another verse popped out - verse 18 - "Therefore consider carefully how you listen." That's a verse to which I think we can all say, "Amen!"

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