The Best of Times

ACFW Advice, Encouragement, Friends of ACFW, writing 3 Comments

By Julia Kay

If we were at my kitchen table, I’m sure I’d hear some derisive laughter over this title. I don’t know about you, but early in my Christian walk, I thought God’s best included a writing contract and answers to my long list of prayers.

But what happens when our mustard-seed faith doesn’t provide the miracle we need? What happens when disappointment chips away at our hope and joy? What happens when our writing dreams don’t materialize on our timetable or in the ways we envision? What happens when blow after blow knocks us down and our world crumbles around us?

I’ve been there. I’ve raised my eyes to Heaven and asked Him, “Really? This is your best?

And it was. I just couldn’t see it at that precise moment.

Because it was in those situations when He restored and refreshed my spirit when nothing and no one else could. It’s in those times of chasing my dreams that His faithful love kept me steady and built endurance. In the middle of an emotional war zone, He dug me out of the rubble and carried me to safety.

He gave His best in the worst times of my life.

For many in our nation, this is the worst of times. Confusion. Chaos. Fear. Anger. Weariness. Loneliness. Loss. Some may doubt God’s goodness, His best for their life. We have a pandemic. Riots and protests. Isolation. Heated debates over whether or not to wear a mask. Those situations are not best by anyone’s definition, yet we say God is good? Do we really believe it?

I do—because I’ve been a Christ follower long enough to understand a few things. Hardship molds us and frees us in ways our humanity can’t comprehend. It prepares us to be steadfast in our love of others, to grow empathy from our despair and grief. The worst times provide us with opportunities to forgive or to lay down our life (our wants, our desires, our demands, our rights) for our brothers and sisters.

And Christian writers have the unique privilege of creating works of art depicting ways in which the best and worst of times can coexist.

Look at Charles Dickens, who opened a Tale of Two Cities with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” As writers, we don’t have to write about riots or pandemics or political conflict and conspiracy theories. We can, if we have a unique perspective or personal experience to share. Yet the world is full of hurting humans, needing hope, love, encouragement, and a giggle or two.

If you were at my kitchen table, I’d lean in and take your hand. My friend, we can’t give what we don’t have. We have to believe it first.

We have to be the ones excavating God’s word for His truth in our lives. We have to experience His peace as we poise our fingers over keyboards. We have to be a modern day David, Daniel, Joshua, or Paul—an Esther or Mary—whose faith led them forward amid personal hardship. We have to trust in His provision and His faithfulness.

We can do this. We can rise to this challenge. Whether previously published or just starting, the world needs your words now more than ever before. And on days when you don’t feel like there’s nothing to give, we must sit down at the well of living water and let Him fill our cups. For God truly gave us His best. He gave us Jesus Christ. For such a time as this.

I’ve raised my eyes to Heaven and asked Him, 'Really? This is your best?' @juliakayauthor #ACFWBlogs #writetips #encouragement Click To Tweet

Julia Kay graduated from Southwest Baptist University with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Writing. She lives in Missouri with her husband. They have four children. She serves as the President of Exodus Ministry, which helps women released from prison find transformative freedom. She has served as an ACFW Chapter president. She contributes faith articles to a local newspaper column and wields her pen to best explore and illuminate the human condition through women’s fiction.

 

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