Good or Bad November 2020
On Sunday mornings we had a tradition of walking from church to Harrison’s Rexall Drug Store. Though it was only two blocks, we crossed the Harrison’s parking lot and passed the abandoned Ellis Hotel. At eight years old, it was scary and yet enticing for me to think about going into it. On one of those Sundays, while holding Momma’s hand, I suddenly broke off and seemed to be heading for the hotel. A moment later I bent down to the object of my eye and picked up a quarter that I had seen shining up at me from the ground. Momma saw and said, “Does that belong to you Bobby?” I said, “No, Momma.” She said, “Then put it back, Bobby.”
Momma knew not all shiny objects that you find will be good for you. The pastor in our little church also knew that not all the bad that comes into our lives will ultimately be completely bad for us. Sometimes what we receive in the way of life’s experiences has a purpose beyond our wildest imagination. That purpose may just be for a tiny audience as I can attest.
In 2003, I took a year off to write my first book. When I was 17 years old, I got a message from above that I was to be a writer. Within weeks I had not only given up on writing but had also left the church. I would be gone for 25 years. Someday I will share the story about coming back, but today’s article focuses on my book, 20/20 AD. Leaving a six-figure income and devoting a year to my novel and its five rewrites was quite an adventure. I inhaled courses at UCSD on writing. There were visions of being on Oprah and getting accepted into her book club. Some thought the tome would make a good movie. Oh, how I longed for those kinds of success. Slamming forward, the book went with me to three writers’ conferences including the Grand National known solely as Maui. Ninety-one agents and editors were solicited. No one picked it up.
I was so disappointed and didn’t understand why God would have me seemingly waste a year of my life. So I prayed. My prayer was simply, “Why, God?” For almost a year I reached out to Him. Finally, I got my answer which was simple and yet profound. He told me, “Maybe I only wanted one person to read it.” He didn’t say “Bobby” but He may as well have, just like Momma. I was to learn that what seemed to be a bad thing was designed to focus my attention on the wishes of HIS heart.
Looking back, I realize God’s desire to teach me to write. He wanted me to produce without being focused on the worldly results of that production. Picking up the shiny quarter was not what He had in mind for me.
What seemed bad at the time of all those rejections, oddly, became a source of inspiration. He wanted me to see the “quarters” in my life and recognize them for what they are. Sometimes they are to be ours and others times not. Difficulties are the same. It is what we do with our challenges and opportunities that makes us what we are in His eyes.
“For everything that God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with Thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:4-5 & 8)