Slow … But Never Late

Suzanne Woods Fisher
is the bestselling author of The Choice,
The Waiting, The Search, and A Lancaster County Christmas
, as well as
nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish
Peace
. She is fascinated by faith-based communities. Her interest in the Anabaptist
cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W.D. Benedict, who was
raised in the Old order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County,
Pennsylvania. Suzanne is the host of Amish
Wisdom
, a weekly radio program, and a columnist for Christian Post. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay
Area. You can find Suzanne on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com. She
loves to hear from readers! 
Slow but Never Late
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him, do not
fret” (Psalm 37:7, niv).
I’m 52 years old. Sometimes, I feel like I’m late to this
author gig and trying to catch up fast.
While my children were growing up, I free-lanced for
magazines. My four kids have been a source of constant material—I would focus
on whatever puzzling part of child raising I was facing at the time (oh so
many!) and try to figure it out by talking to experts, reading books, then spin
it all into an article. Always, always with takeaway value (the bulls-eye for
magazine work.)
As my kids headed off to college and started their young
adult lives, I took a deep breath, tried to silence all of that self-doubt that
buzzed around me like a restless mosquito, and wrote a novel. Just a little
one. Published it with just a little small press. No big deal. But that little
book won some awards, which caught the eye of an agent, who opened the door to
an editor at Revell.
As of this very morning, over the course of three years, I
will have signed twenty-one contracts with Revell. Amazing! Just amazing. Only
God could open those doors, just in time. God is often slow, but never late.
Of course, four years ago, I had no clue that any of this
would unfold. I kept plugging along [in my “office,”] working on my craft, writing proposals,
tweaking work-in-progress. If you had asked me, I would have said that I fully
expected my writing future to be pretty bleak. Filled with long, long, long
waits.
But if you asked me now, I would say that God’s timing was
ideal. Not only was the timing spot-on for the right connections to occur with
editor and agent, but the timing was right for me. I was getting ready to
handle these obligations, but I wasn’t ready yet. Not four years ago, not ten
years. Or twenty. I needed seasoning. A lot of it.
Does God ever seem
slow to you?
I do. I call Him the
“just-in-time God.”
What other career,
besides writing, does waiting play such a leading role? Waiting for a response
to a query. Then waiting to hear back about a requested manuscript. Waiting to
find out if a publisher shows a spark of interest. Finally, waiting for a
contract to follow.
Waiting, waiting, and
more waiting. Waiting feels like inactivity.
Three thousand years
ago, the Israelites had the same restless anxiety as they waited for God. If
they didn’t see action, they assumed it was because there was no action.
During the forty days
in which Moses was up on Mount Sinai with God, the Israelites lost patient and
were filled with doubts. “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming
down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us
gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of
Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him’” (Exodus 32:1).
You know the rest.
Aaron complied and made a golden calf for the Israelites to worship. God gave
Moses the heads-up to get down the mountain but fast. “When Moses approached
the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the
tablets out of his hands, breaking them into pieces at the foot of the
mountain” (Exodus 32:19).
The wait overwhelmed
them. Those foolish Israelites assumed that apparent inactivity on God’s part
meant impotence. But here’s the thing: the exact opposite was true. God was
delivering the Law to Moses. He was handcrafting the stone tablets to provide
structure and peace within their society. He was teaching Moses how to worship.
He was tenderly caring and providing for the Israelites’ future.
Think how differently
this situation could have turned out had the Israelites waited patiently,
expectantly, faithfully. Odd to think that in their anxiety, they had a desire
to connect with…something greater than themselves. What if they had had taken
the “wait” and substituted it with “worship?” Imagine if their attitude had
been the same as the writer of Lamentations: “In this stillness, I wait,
Sovereign God. It is good to wait quietly for you.” (Lamentations 3:26, tlb).
Think how differently
situations could turn out in our own life if we could only wait quietly for
God. If we used times of waiting—for a query letter to be answered or for an
editor to respond—as reminders to worship God?
Do you ever feel as
if inactivity on God’s part equals impotence? During periods of apparent
inactivity God may be preparing a wonderful opportunity for you in your writing
career. Who knows what is going on behind the scenes? All that we really know
is that our work is committed to Him and that includes its outcome. Never
forget that God is working on your behalf. He might be slow, but He is never
late.
“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand
years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8, niv).
The Keeper
Life on Windmill Farm
hasn’t been the same since Julia Lapp’s father has had trouble with his heart.
But that doesn’t stop Julia from hoping for a bright future. She has planned on
marrying Paul Fisher since she was a girl. Now twenty-one, she looks forward to
their wedding with giddy anticipation. But when Paul tells her he wants to
postpone the wedding—again—she is determined to change his mind. She knows who
is to blame for Paul’s sudden reluctance to wed: the Bee Man.
Roman Troyer, the Bee
man, travels through the Amish communities of Ohio and Pennsylvania with his
hives full of bees, renting them out to farmers in need of pollinators. A
mysterious man who relishes his nomadic life, Roman especially enjoys bringing
his bees to Stoney Ridge each year. But with Julia seriously at odds with him,
Windmill Farm is looking decidedly less appealing.
Can Julia secure the
future she’s always dreamed of? Or does God have something else in mind?