By Melissa Tagg
When I was a kid we had these VHS tapes of animated Bible stories. We watched them over and over. The one I remember most?
And I think the reason I remember it so well is every time I watched it I had a crazy hope that it’d turn out differently. That Samson would be smarter. That he wouldn’t trust Delilah. And that he’d keep his hair and his strength.
Maybe that’s why, unlike some of my girlfriends, I’ve never had a problem with guys with long hair. Sure, I might’ve thought it was because I’m all “it’s their hair, let them do what they want” laidback. But really, deep down I’m probably still longing for some kind of redemption for Samson.
Anyway, awhile back I re-read the chapters in Judges that tell Samson’s story. And it wasn’t so much strong guy himself who stood out to me…but his dad.
If you haven’t read the early part of the story for a while, here’s how it goes: An angel comes to the barren wife of a guy named Manoah, tells her she’s going to become pregnant and that her son will help deliver Israel from the Philistines. She tells Manoah. And this is Manoah’s response:
Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Pardon your servant, Lord. I beg you to let the man of God you sent to us come again to teach us how to bring up the boy who is to be born.”
That’s where I stopped…before Samson goes out and kills a lion with his bare hands and takes down the Philistines and gets tangled up with stupid Delilah, his father does this quiet and awesome thing.
He finds out he’s about to receive an amazing gift. And before doing anything else (except maybe hugging his wife-I’d like to think he did that right away) he prays that God would show him how to best receive this gift.
And when I read that, I thought: Maybe writing is my Samson. A playground of creativity and imagination and storytelling fun. A gift to be nurtured. One that, at times, feels unruly and out of my control-probably much like a teenage Samson.
But one God is going to use.
And if writing might be my Samson, then Manoah’s prayer-for help and guidance-can become my own. After all, I don’t want to accept a gift and just thoughtlessly run with it. Nor do I want to hold it too tight, like an overprotective parent.
I want to accept it with a light grasp, with hands and mind and heart open to how God wants me to use it. I want this gift to change me-which means focusing on the One who gave it to me in the first place.
I see in Manoah someone who knew the Gift-Giver was an ever better thing than the gift itself.
And who knew that every gift, like this cool writing journey, is a chance to encounter God, to better understand His purpose for my life and to step into that purpose with my focus in the right place.
Melissa Tagg is a former reporter, current nonprofit grant writer and total Iowa girl. She writes romantic comedy for Bethany House, and is also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. Her upcoming releases include a novella, Three Little Words, in March, and a full-length novel, From the Start, in April. She blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at http://www.melissatagg.com.