Through Devastation, Joy
The Bernie Madoff story has always fascinated me. How could one man orchestrate something that ruined the lives of so many? How could he sleep at night, knowing all of his gain was because of their loss?
Recently, I read this article from the Wall Street Journal, telling how some of the victims have done over the last five years: on.wsj.com/1gWvNJN
I think about all those people who were in retirement, thinking they were set for the rest of their lives and suddenly losing everything. Some have adjusted to a simpler life, but others have been destroyed trying to rebuild their financial lives from ground zero. I can’t imagine that kind of loss. Someday I want to write a fiction story about a character who goes through something similar.
Instances of loss are all around us. Homes burn to the ground or are demolished by tornadoes. Children, mothers and fathers are lost to freak accidents. Loving spouses bury their longtime mates. We sometimes bury ourselves in our sorrows, taking comfort in the fact that Christ understands them and sympathizes with our pain.
And yet the Bible is so clear that God wants us to be a people full of joy, not of devastation.
Someone once told me you can’t worry and be joyful at the same time. I know Matthew 6 tells us we aren’t supposed to worry, but financial stability is always on my mind. Even as a tenured teacher, I worry a lot about keeping my job as the tides in educational leadership continue to change. And I worry about costly illnesses. These days, with the changes in our health insurance policies, it seems like any of us could be just a few rough medical bills away from financial ruin.
But then, I remember Habakkuk 3:17-18.
Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls— Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
How many times (a day) do I forget that my purpose is His purpose, and that my life is a vapor? I was not put on this Earth to maintain financial stability, but rather to spread His good news to as many people as I can. Good news–joyful news. We have a Savior. He is risen! We can have eternal life through Him!
The temptation to mope through life and bemoan our circumstance is an ever-present thorn in today’s society. We have to be like Paul in Philippians 3:7–counting all things loss for Christ, and remember Mark 8:36, that if we gain the world, yet lose our soul, it’s all in vain.
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Tags: author, book, christian, christian fiction, devastation, fig tree, financial stability, Habakkuk, joy, loss, story, worry, write, writer, writing, YA
Can You Be Great and Humble?
I think somewhere deep within all of us is a quest for greatness. We want to be recognized, honored, and patted on the back for our accomplishments. Part of wanting to be published surely relates to that. After all, I’ve worked SO hard on this masterpiece. So many hours that could have been sleep, so many rewrites and revisions. Someone should really give me some appreciation, right? It’s so hard to keep that attitude in check.
And yet I read verses like Proverbs 3:34, and feel an immediate twinge of guilt for ever entertaining such thoughts.
Surely he scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.
Now I wouldn’t call myself scornful. And I definitely want His grace. But as I approach the moment where I start sending my work out for scrutiny, I’m sure the temptation for scornfulness will come with the rejection that’s sure to follow.
After all, haven’t all the “greats” suffered rejection?
This led me to ponder what I truly want from publishing. I can’t deny the surge of excitement that would come from seeing my name in print, from walking into Barnes and Noble and finding my name on the shelf.
But then, I consider the what if–suppose rejection doesn’t follow. How can I keep myself humble?
Rabindranath Tagore, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1913, said this:
We come nearest to the great when we are great in humility.
And to be great in humility comes from purposing to be like Christ.
Maybe I just worry about silly things. The answer always comes back to living a Christ-centered life.
So, with that in mind, of course we can be both great and humble, in Him.
My Writing Process Blog Tour
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Tags: author, christian, fiction, my writing process blog, novel, story, writing, YA, young adult