A few weeks ago God gave me an assignment. Not one that I didn’t have experience for. But one that required the best of me–or, better than my current best. Even better said, I needed help and all God could give for me to complete it well. The assignment? Enter a writing contest. The prize? A scholarship to a premier writers conference. Writing the article was not horribly scary, but the thought of winning terrified me. Because that would require even more of me–my abilities, my time, my courage–than I possess. At first I wondered if participating in this writing contest was what God wanted me to do with my limited time during the Christmas holidays. It is a family time, after all. And in thee world of my priorities, writing comes after my family. The fact that I was scared was my first clue that I needed to move forward, as God often asks us to do things outside of our comfort zone. But the wondering became a certainty as God showed me the topic I was to write on–a new purpose post for my blog. (If we’re honest, writing the new purpose post for my blog was birthed over two years ago and confirmed last summer. Yes, I am delinquent!)
[Heads up: I’m rebranding! A new website design is on its way, and this new purpose post will be ready for that.]
But for the purpose of this writing contest, I knew my best needed to be better than it was. That and the possibility of winning had me shaking in my boots. (Well, forget boots! This is Texas after all. I was shaking in my Yellow Box flip-flops!)
I texted my dear friend and mentor about all this, and she encouraged me with this Scripture:
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NASB)
I re-read that verse many times, emphasizing the word surely. Finally, I texted back … “Surely, He’ll help me. Right?”
So I dug a little deeper into this verse. My surely and God’s surely were two different things. My surely meant …
Maybe God will help me … right?
I hope God will help me!
He’s supposed to help me. But will He? Will He, Really?
But that’s not what God’s surely means. When God says surely, He means …
This is a promise!
I had a choice to make. God was making me a promise. Not a promise to win, but a sure promise to help me. So I took a deeper look at the word help. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance says this:
A verb meaning to help, to aid. It means to support, to give material or nonmaterial encouragement to a person.1
Yes! God would give me material and nonmaterial support and encouragement to accomplish this task. And He did. It took a while. Longer than most things I write. But God encouraged me all the way–through His Word, texts, and editing help from a couple of friends. Oh, how I needed all of it!
I won’t know the results for another week or so. I’m comfortable leaving that in God’s hands. If His plans are for me to win one of the scholarships, then I will need another heaping dose of His help to do what’s necessary to actually go to the conference and make the most of it. And if not, that’s ok, too.
The Bigger Picture
In the overall scheme of life, writing an article for a contest is small. But God offers help regardless of the task He assigns.
Caring for parents debilitated by dementia
Struggling through financial difficulty
You name it. God is there and He wants to help–materially and non-materially. Start by spending time with Him in His Word. He will direct you to Scripture that will strengthen your heart. And at the right time, He will provide all of the other support you need for the task at hand.
I don’t know what task God has called you to today, but He is faithful. If He called you to it, He will do it through you.
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The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24 NIV)
1Warren Baker and Eugene E. Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), 822.
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