Is Kevin Bacon’s arm longer than God’s?
Last week, after much debate, prayer and counsel, I decided to get back in contact with the only person I know in the publishing industry. I was hesitant to do so because the last time I interacted with her I was definitely off the reservation, sprinting ahead of God, trying to frantically force my way into the book writing world.
So I sent her an email about the new book I am working on and said, “OK God, it’s on you.” That’s one of my favorite prayers, “It’s on you.” Sometimes I think God is like some sort of Sensei that trains me how to fight in a secluded mountain top dojo. After months of painful, difficult learning I am able to snatch a rock from his hand before he can close it, which signifies I’m ready to go back into the world with the skills he’s imparted to me.
Forget that. If anything, the more I learn about God, the more I learn how dependent I am on him for my every breath. The closer I get to him, the more I find myself saying, “Really, you want me to go where and do what? OK, I’ll keep moving forward in that direction, but it’s on you. Seriously, you saw what happened last time I tried to do it on my own. That really tall guy stole all the money and I’ll never be able to get another tuxedo from that place again.”
Seconds after I sent the email, there was a response from the editor. Wow God, you move quickly when you’re into something, I thought. I opened it up and here’s what her email said, “I’m on maternity leave and will be back in September.”
Awesome. 100% of the channels I know to get this book published are out of the office for the next 10 weeks. I paused and thought, “I guess God doesn’t want me to get this book published right now. That’s the only way to interpret this.” But what does that mean?
Do I really believe that in order to prevent my book from being published, God made sure this editor got pregnant? Am I really believing that some baby’s purpose on the planet is just to provide a “maternity leave blockade” to my book proposal? Twenty years from now is that kid going to go on a backpacking trip through Europe to find himself only to find that his reason for being was to temporarily delay the writing career of some guy named Jon? Isn’t that a little narcissistic?
It’s a lot narcissistic, but at the same time, isn’t God in control of everything? Doesn’t his vision for our lives unfold with far greater connectivity than the six degrees of Kevin Bacon? Is there anything that happens that he is surprised about? If he pushed on me to send the email to the publisher, was he shocked to see she was on maternity leave? Did he think, “What? Maternity leave? That’s bananas! I really thought this was going to be the group that published your book Jon.”
So I’ve got two options. Believe God enlisted the very miracle of life to stop me from writing a book or God doesn’t really know everything and was surprised by the editor’s pregnancy. Ugh, those both stink. Hopefully there’s a third option in some portion of the Bible I haven’t read yet.