“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. ‘I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.” Genesis 12:1-4 (NIV)
Always in the past when I’ve read the story of Abraham, I focused on the promise God gave that he would be the father of nations, sometimes remembering it took 25 years from when God first promised it to him until it was actually fulfilled, but mainly taking away that God does keep His promises. Rarely do I remember God called Abraham to take action first (leave your country and relocate to a foreign land) … and then grew silent while He made Abraham wait … for a long time.
Maybe this story has touched my heart lately because it seems to parallel the journey I’m on right now. Approximately six years ago, God started our family on a path which began with preparation. I used to be a medical transcriptionist and one day, while typing away at home, God whispered to me, “Finish your book.” Unlike Abraham, who didn’t question God’s authority but promptly obeyed, without any details, I argued. “What do You mean finish my book? I’m not a writer, this book is just something I do in my spare time, a form of therapy, and while we’re on the topic of spare time, with three kids under the age of 12, I don’t have any of that.”
God, in His infinite patience and knowing I wasn’t back talking (not really) but instead I more so mirrored the insecurities of Moses, answered with three simple words, “Finish your book.”
This time I obeyed. Without knowing what exactly God wanted me to do, I “finished my book” … which led to attending a writer’s conference … which led to creating a blog … which led to joining some writers groups … which led to a job for a book club … which led to the elimination of my medical transcription job … which led to where I am today, having published over 20 nonfiction books on a variety of topics and working on writing and publishing in the fiction realm in 2019.
Just like with Abraham, my path in the direction God wanted me to go hasn’t been a straight line. I have taken a few detours (rushing ahead in trying to find employment when God instructed me to rest) and suffered a few lasting consequences just like Abraham did also when he had a son with Hagar. However, just like with Abraham, God has taken my mistakes and allowed me to experience blessings as well. One major blessing I have noticed is that God used my 10 years of medical transcription work to teach me grammar and typing skills which come in handy with my current employment, not to mention with writing itself. In addition, He has taken these past three years with various jobs and taught me skills and given me experience I need for whatever future He has for me, which appears to be somehow in the world of writing.
Rereading this story in Genesis, I was encouraged with God commanding him to take a step of faith and then providing a waiting period of 25 years before fulfilling the promise He spoke over His friend, Abraham, and Abraham’s wife, Sarah. And despite the many detours they took and the times they failed to wait and tried to make things happen quicker, God still fulfilled the promise in His way, His time.
While I’m not comparing myself to Abraham, it is encouraging to me that I took the step of faith God asked and “finished my book,” and now, while I wait for God to reveal the ministry or purpose He has for my life more clearly, I can wait with purpose, continuing to take each next step He commands, whenever He chooses to speak, and until then, learn to wait patiently and expectantly. Learn being the operative word because as with my latest manuscript, I’m still a work in progress
© Cheri Swalwell 2018