After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord made him prosperous again ... and he also had seven sons and three daughters. Job 42:10, 13
One of my neighbors is an avid fiction reader who often expressed interest in my books. Soon after You Are the Reason released in June, I gathered all 3 of my books and headed to her apartment.
I’d already done the math on what this easy sale would bring. Cha-ching!
“This is perfect timing,” she beamed. “We're leaving for a month in our RV so I'll have plenty of time to read."
The air exploded in awkward silence.
My gaze subtly trailed to my 3 book babies now in her possession. Heavens, she thinks these are on loan?
I could have kindly explained my intentions and refused to leave them, but my conscience wouldn’t allow it. Instead, I wished them a safe trip and left.
The urge to demand my books be paid for in full or returned forthwith (I like that word) nearly burned a hole in my stomach.
If she reads them and is enlightened to a relationship with Jesus, marvelous!
If she doesn’t read them but they’re damaged, I couldn't resell them. Bad, bad.
If she reads them and dislikes them, I’ll experience the sting of rejection and assume she considers my fiction … meh.
Lord, what to do?
Be silent for two days.
But I need to settle this first. They leave in two days (Me telling God what he already knows)
Be silent. Pray for your neighbor. Trust me.
Before their departure, I’d taken an afternoon walk and came to their RV. I envisioned my books trapped inside for the duration of their drive.
I walked the perimeter and prayed ...
"Lord, I choose to trust your purpose in this. Please keep my babies safe. Let them be a source of truth and life to her."
Even several weeks after they’d returned, God still hadn’t lifted the ban on silence.
Recently, thoughts of my books surfaced. Since I write to smuggle the Truth by way of fiction, I considered other potential readers who’d benefit from the books.
I prayed for wisdom.
According to my neighbor's husband, she'd seen the article in the Hickory Daily Record featuring me as one of several local authors and she'd set it aside.
Perfect. I went to claim the newspaper, and she invited me in for a visit.
I don’t have time for this, Lord. I’ve got writing to do.
Sit. I’ll multiply your time.
I obliged. And it resulted in pleasant chit-chat about books, interests, backstories.
She admitted neither she nor her husband are church-goers. And although she was hospitable and engaging, her body language threw up a rampart against any effort to persuade otherwise.
At some point, the subtext in my body language must have communicated, “Uh, my book babies?”
She finally admitted to having only read the first few chapters of one of them. Turned out, she just isn’t a fan of romance. (And I, kind neighbor, am not a fan of thrillers, spy novels, and murder mysteries)
When she apologized and sheepishly handed them over, I felt the heavens rejoice!
The book loan was never about book sales or gaining a reader fan. It was about connecting with a non-believer and the opportunity to gain a soul for the kingdom—a secular reader for whom the picture of grace could be exhibited.
After Job had prayed for his rascally friends, the Lord heaped blessings on him and restored all he’d lost—and more!
I chose to pray for my presumptuous neighbor, and God blessed me with peace of mind, the return of my 3 children, kept in pristine condition, and a mission field.
When have you sacrificed something of value and discovered God’s purpose behind it?
Did you recover what you’d loaned? How did it turn out?
Thanks for reading!
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Until next time,
MARY'S FICTION SHELF
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