What does it mean to fail? My parents always told me that quitting was the same thing as failing. And recently, I've had some discussions that basically come down to discouragement. Sure, what I dream about and believe the task God has given me to do is hard. I have no experience in it - I have never written more than a long report (20 pages or so) and it's never been fiction. Some would even say it's impossible - I have no contacts, no business plan and I'm starting to run out of words. How am I to call myself a writer if (a) I have nothing published (b) I have no prospects or (c) have barely enough written to fill up 2 pages? And my husband is making plans for me to go back to work in a year? Oh yeah - that's a tough one.
So, I'm reading through my lectionary Scriptures this week - in lieu of a Bible Study (and thanks to my last, I can "work it"...i.e. those verses I read, much better than before) and the sermon and into this week includes, arguably, the most famous story in the Bible. David vs. Goliath. I'm diving into the commentaries about 1 Samuel 17 and it's fascinating - so much detail - why doesn't a major Hollywood studio make a movie??
As I'm reading through this - the thought from recent conversations, that this idea of mine - to write these books, is a pipe dream. It will never happen. But yet - what I'm seeing on the page is the same thing David endured. Right before his biggest battle to date - his oldest brother shreds him in front of at least a company of soliders of Israel. Here is the anointed King of Israel - his little brother and for a myraid of reasons - Eliab just tears him down. And probably not the first time. So - David has a choice here. He could let what his brother says to him convince him all that has happened to him and all that he believes is wrong. He could give up. What would have happened if he did? If he failed? God would have raised another hero - another king - to accomplish His purposes but just as in the days of Lot and Abraham - there needed to be at least one faithful to The Lord. If David had given up or failed as we will call it - the Israelites would have lost most everything at that point - Saul would have led them to destruction and I think history backs me up there.
But David makes the choice - he responds with a soft answer - albeit one that shows his hurt. Verse 29 says that he says "Now what have I done?" I know myself I have asked that same question and it's out of a heart that just can't believe someone you love would speak so harshly with you when your motives are right. However, the rest of the verse says "...He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the mean answered him as before."
David doesn't quit. As David Guzik says in his commentary "There is no doubt that what his oldest brother Eliab said hurt him, but he would not let it hinder him." That was a lightbulb for me - but what I read next was a spotlight--
"hat helped David to handle the hurt this way? He was more concerned with God’s cause than with his own feelings."
AH-HA! And do I have a cause here? Yes, yes I do. A mandate even. The books I'm writing reach out to a group of young women and girl children that are desparately in need of The Heavenly Father's love to make choices that don't destroy their souls. They need to know there is salvation before they are buried in the grave. Before they make choices like I did, for many reasons, but most often because "that's what everyone else is doing - so it seems like what I should do."
He wants me to write because the potential for pain these girls will endure is enormous. I know, I've been there and so have most, if not all of my friends.
Guzik goes onto to say "When David was misunderstood and rebuked, publicly, by his own brother, probably amid the laughs of the other soldiers, he could have blown it. But he showed the strength of the armor of God in his life, and replied rightly. He didn’t care about his glory or success, but only for the glory and success of the Lord’s cause. Goliath was a dead man right then! This is where the battle was won! If Eliab’s hurtful words can get David in the flesh, and out of the flow of the Spirit of the Lord, then David’s strength is gone. But when David ruled his spirit and answered softly, he was more in step with the Spirit of the Lord than ever. You could start digging Goliath’s grave right then!"
David's intentions and motivations were God-given. His relationship with The Lord was real, he cherished and nurtured it. He took care of the things he was placed in charge of and when it came down to it - as Jesus said - he was given charge, not only of defeating this enemy, but indeed the whole of Israel - because he was faithful in the small. Even when Saul doubted him later - his mind was made up. This battle is The Lord's and there is no reason to fear.
I conclude by saying this lifted my spirits. I don't know if my books will ever be a commercial success but I have to get them written first. That battle of publication is The Lord's so I have to do what He has asked of me. Which is write - just write girl!
If you are feeling discouraged in your call or purpose - perhaps that is where the enemy wants you. After all - if the enemy had succeeded in scaring the pants off David like he did the rest of the Israelites - he would have never been the one to fulfill God's purposes. But he didn't - he was hurt, struck down but not destroyed. He was blessed beyond the curse and so are you! Even if what you dream of, like me, seems completely out of reach - remember nothing is impossible for God. Build your dreams with Him and He will use you for more glory than you could ever imagine.