by Dr. Richard Mabry
God made a promise to an old and childless Abraham that someday he would be the father of many nations. Fourteen years after that, Isaac was born to Abraham and his wife, Sarah. Did you ever wonder what happened during the prolonged period of waiting the patriarch endured? Did Abraham worry because he was getting older by the day without the son God promised? Did he agonize, wondering if perhaps God had forgotten His covenant? Did he consider trying other gods, hoping they’d do better a better job for him? We may not know what Abraham did during this period, but whatever it was, it’s evident he never lost faith in God.
What would a writer do if subjected to such a prolonged silence? Would the unpublished writer keep trying despite rejection after rejection? Would the previously published writer persevere when there were no more contracts? We’ve all felt it-the urge to throw up our hands and quit. Should we do it, or, like Abraham, keep the faith?
Like other writers, I have endured some of those silent periods, and I have to confess that during those times I worried…a lot. I wrote for four years before finally getting my first contract. I was ready to give up many times before then, and once I actually quit, although God had other plans. After that contract, though, I thought things would go more smoothly. Wrong. Despite four published novels, I endured a silent period again, waiting for a publisher to want my work. When there were no phone calls, no email messages, I wondered if God had forgotten me. Perhaps the call to writing I imagined feeling wasn’t real.
Finally, when I received another contract, because of publishing schedules I learned there was to be a hiatus of a year and a half between the publication of my last book and the appearance of the next one. Although I worried that no one would remember me after such a prolonged absence, the void period turned out to be just what I needed. During that time when I wasn’t writing under deadline, I was able to serve as an officer in ACFW. I could be there for my family at a time when my contribution was most needed. I was free to study and read. I had time to pray and seek God’s direction. In other words, the timing of that silent period was perfect. It was God’s timing.
When you encounter periods of silence like these, remember that they may represent an example of God’s perfect timing. If you are overcome with worry during such a period, remember Abraham. He never lost faith. We shouldn’t either.
Dr. Richard Mabry is a retired physician, past Vice-President of American Christian Fiction Writers, and the author of four published novels of medical suspense. His books have been finalists in competitions including ACFW’s Carol Award and Romantic Times’ Inspirational Book of the Year. His latest novel, Lethal Remedy, won a 2012 Selah Award. His next medical thriller, Stress Test, releases in March 2013 from Thomas Nelson and Sons.