I stood at a podium, looking out on an audience of Christian writers and bloggers. While speaking, I could see such eagerness in the women — wide eyes, pens poised, leaning forward. My view of the audience left me on the verge of tears. Why? Because I had been in their seats before.
What, they wondered, was the secret to getting a book published?
If I knew the secret-sauce recipe, I would have given it to every one of them. I looked out on these women and imagined the books that sat inside of their hearts and journals. Books about how they’d survived divorce, repeated miscarriages, the battle with cancer. Books about great adventures, shenanigans, doors closed, doors opened, embarrassing moments, clever stories.
But all of those books were unpublished. Why? Because the writers couldn’t figure out how to convince a publisher to offer them a contract.
Years earlier, I was the girl in the audience. I had an idea for a book. I had writing experience. But for three years straight, I faced one rejection after another. I remember Googling, late at night, to see if someone like me could ever get a book contract. Everything I found online suggested that I was simply too small and insignificant.
What do you do when the call God gave you appears to be undercut by your circumstances, your size, your “insignificance,” your experience, or your abilities? What do you do when the timing seems off, and all you can do is wait?
That day at the conference, I offered some encouragement for anyone who was asking those questions. And today, I share them to you. I hope my words encourage any of you who are waiting for your time, whether you’re a writer, an artist, a teacher, an entrepreneur, or a missionary.
I don’t know the secret-sauce recipe for you to get what you want. I have something better: truth.
The truth sits like an anchor in the first chapter of the book of Acts. In the story, Jesus presents himself alive to followers. He offers instructions before He disappears to heaven. Put yourself in the story. Imagine yourself as one of these eager followers. Imagine how intently you would listen, hanging on every word and wanting to do exactly what the Savior asked you to do.
The one question these followers ask (Acts 1:6) is essentially this: When? When will Your plan come to pass, God?
Isn’t that the question we’re all asking — when?
When is it my time?
When will I get the “lucky break”?
When will I get the promotion?
When will God’s promises unfold?
When will my dream come true?
Jesus’ answer to His followers in Acts is His answer to us today:
“You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses . . . even to the ends of the world.” Acts 1:7-8 MSG
Then Jesus disappeared, and all of His followers stood around, looking at an empty sky, asking, “Now what?”
I imagine you understand the “now what” feeling of uncertainty, standing under your own sky. Believe me, I know what it feels like to wonder if God’s promises will unfold — or if I even heard him right. We all ask it: “When is it my turn?”
Jesus answers clearly: “You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business.”
This is what I know for sure: If God calls you to it, He will walk you through it. His will. His way. His timing.
We don’t get to the know the time.
Maybe right now you’re feeling too small or insignificant, but your size doesn’t nullify your calling.
It actually doesn’t matter what the experts say, so long as God called you to this. Remember that early group of followers in the book of Acts? There were only 120 in all. The “experts” would have said that there was no way that 120 people could accomplish what Jesus asked them to do — to carry His message to the ends of the earth. Imagine if those 120 people would have Googled this question: “Can 120 people accomplish this task?” Google would have said they were way too small.
But the fact is, a little tribe of 120 would be the beginning of the most important movement in earth’s history.
God’s plan is unstoppable. His plan is bigger than your problem, bigger than your platform, bigger than your hang-ups, bigger than your “bad luck.” God is bigger than everything.
If God can take a group of 120 people, empower them with the Holy Spirit, and within a short time, grow them to 3,000, then thousands, and then millions . . . well, just imagine what He can do with you.
Don’t give up, friend.
“You don’t get to know the time,” but you do know the Keeper of the Clock.
His will. His way. In His time.
Don’t give up.
(Written with love by a woman who told she wasn’t “big enough” to ever get a book contract. And then she wrote those books anyway . . . and they all got published.)
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