Faith Lessons

Faith is something I’ve had to learn over the years. By faith, I don’t necessarily mean the basic belief in Christian truth. That is solid and, I trust, enduring by this time in my life. But I’ve had to learn how to take steps of faith along the way for specific circumstances. And I’ve had to learn what faith is not.

There was a time in my life when I thought that God was at my beck and call, and would do whatever I asked. I don’t think I ever stated it that way—not so blatantly, at least. Neither do I believe I thought consciously about Him in that manner; it was more of a subconscious sensation.

He pretty much cured me of that early on, but that was just lesson number one. Many more were to follow. They continue today.

For instance, I had an idea for a book a number of years ago, and I was convinced the idea came from the One who is the source of all really good ideas. I decided to write the manuscript first and then find a publisher afterwards. One reason for that approach was my concern that I wouldn’t be able to find the time to meet any deadline that a publisher might impose. It turned out to be wise in that regard, as my life went through a major dislocation for a couple of years.

Yet I never gave up on the idea.

Last summer, as I sat down to continue work on the manuscript, I began to wonder if it would ever be completed. Was I just doing my own thing? Was this idea really from God or was I deceived? Then, one night, in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, a reorganization of the rest of the manuscript practically infused my mind. I was so taken with the new organization that I had to get up and write it all down immediately. At about 3:00 a.m., I revised my book proposal and then quickly went back to sleep because my mind was now at ease.

I worked steadily and surprised myself by wrapping up the writing by early July. My first draft was complete. Now it was time to find that publisher.

Here’s where faith comes in again. It’s almost one year later and no one has committed to the idea I felt came from God. The questions begin anew: Was I foolish to do what I did? Have I spent all that time and effort for nothing? Will there ever be anyone interested in giving this proposed book a chance?

For the record, it’s about Ronald Reagan and Whittaker Chambers. Reagan was the eternal optimist, Chambers the inveterate pessimist. Both were conservative icons, but while Reagan believed freedom was the wave of the future throughout the world, Chambers instead saw mankind as too foolish and selfish to guard the freedom God gave. Which man was closer to the truth? That’s the issue I attempt to answer in this manuscript.

I still believe it’s a good premise. I believe the book can be valuable and instructive for those who take the time to read it. The nagging doubt now, though, is whether it will ever see the light of day.

I look upon this as one more faith lesson. I also am coming to grips with the possibility that it may not be published. God is peering into my heart and asking, “What is more important to you? Are you seeking personal glory or can you be content with simply being obedient to Me?” I want to affirm the latter, so I decided to do it publicly today.

Your will be done, Lord, whatever that may be. And I take seriously the Scriptural reminder: “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

This world will pass—and all books with it. Eternity will . . . well . . . last forever. So where should our focus be?