What other career, besides writing, does waiting play such a leading role? Waiting for a response to a query. Then waiting to hear back about a requested manuscript. Waiting to find out if a publisher shows a spark of interest. Finally, waiting for a contract to follow.
Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. Waiting feels like inactivity.
Three thousand years ago, the Israelites had the same restless anxiety as they waited for God. If they didn’t see action, they assumed it was because there was no action.
During the forty days in which Moses was up on Mount Sinai with God, the Israelites lost patience and were filled with doubts. “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’” (Exodus 32:1).
You know the rest. Aaron complied and made a golden calf for the Israelites to worship. God gave Moses the heads-up to get down the mountain but fast. “When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them into pieces at the foot of the mountain” (Exodus 32:19).
The wait overwhelmed them. Those foolish Israelites assumed that apparent inactivity on God’s part meant impotence. But here’s the thing: the exact opposite was true. God was delivering the Law to Moses. He was handcrafting the stone tablets to provide structure and peace within their society. He was teaching Moses how to worship. He was tenderly caring and providing for the Israelites’ future.
Think how differently this situation could have turned out had the Israelites waited patiently, expectantly, faithfully. Odd to think that in their anxiety, they had a desire to connect with...something greater than themselves. What if they had had taken the “wait” and substituted it with “worship?” Imagine if their attitude had been the same as the writer of Lamentations: “In this stillness, I wait, Sovereign God. It is good to wait quietly for you.” (Lamentations 3:26, tlb).
Think how differently situations could turn out in our own life if we could only wait quietly for God. If we used times of waiting—for a query letter to be answered or for an editor to respond—as reminders to worship God?
Do you ever feel as if inactivity on God’s part equals impotence? During periods of apparent inactivity God may be preparing a wonderful opportunity for you in your writing career. Who knows what is going on behind the scenes? All that we really know is that our work is committed to Him and that includes its outcome. Never forget that God is working on your behalf. He might be slow, but He is never late.
“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8, niv).
Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, and A Lancaster County Christmas, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is fascinated by faith-based communities. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is the host of Amish Wisdom, a weekly radio program, and a columnist for Christian Post. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Suzanne on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com. She loves to hear from readers!