Annabelle has been writing for a long as she can remember. From the moment she could hold a pen she was always scribbling something. Aunt Edna said she would be a writer and it was Edna who soothed her when she began to receive rejection letters from all of her favorite literary agents. “Persevere,” she said. “Persevere.”
Persevere. Writers hear that word often. If you want to be published, you have to persevere, we are told. It sounds a lot like faith. If you want to be published, you have to have faith. We could also say, if you want to be published you have to believe. It turns out that, as writers use them, persevere, have faith and believe mean the same thing, but they don’t necessarily mean the same to each writer and they don’t necessarily mean what they should.
Laura sees Billy with a fishing pole, casting his line into a swimming pool. “Whatcha doin’?” she asks. “I’m fishing,” he says. She peers into the water, seeing no fish. “You won’t catch anything.” He gives her a funny look. “Yes, I will. You’ve got to believe.” Many people confuse faith, and thus perseverance, with wishful thinking.
But what if we change the scene? Laura sees Billy with a fishing pole, walking down the street. “Whatcha doin’?” she asks. “Going fishing,” he says. “Cody says the fish are bitin’ in the pond.” Laura turns and runs toward her house. As she goes she yells, “let me get my pole and I’ll go with you!” At last, we see an example of faith.
We may wish we can catch a fish in a swimming pool, but it ain’t gonna happen. If a trustworthy friend tells us the fish are biting and we believe we’ll catch fish, it’ll happen. But, if we don’t believe, leaving the fishing pole at home, we won’t catch fish.
Walk into a room full of aspiring writers and ask, “How many of you believe you will be published someday?” Most will raise their hands. Then go around the room and ask each one, “Who told you that you’ll be published?” Few will name a creditable person. Most will name someone like Aunt Edna or no one at all. Anytime we believe something and without a strong basis for that belief it’s only wishful thinking.
A little wishful thinking doesn’t hurt anyone, as long as we don’t let it get out of hand. We need something more. We need true faith. Not faith that our wishes will come true, but faith that promises made will be kept. Far too often we have faith that something will happen when the person making the promise (usually us) has limited ability to fulfill the promise or when the person in whom we put our trust hasn’t promised to do what we trust him to do.
If we are to persevere, we need to make sure that we aren’t putting our faith in our ability to wait out our critics, but are moving toward gaining a promise (a blessing) from those who will be able to bring our work to print. This is especially true of the One who has never failed in a promise. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20, 21)