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Posts Tagged ‘a day is like a thousand years’

Soon after my first novel Heléna was published in 2007, I became curious about where all those early copies would get to. I remember wishing I could install a tracking device on them so I could see who read them and what interesting adventures they had along the way. Of course, I also realised that could be discouraging. After all, some might end up unopened on dusty bookshelves somewhere or, worse still, in the recycling bin! On the other hand, some readers might love the novel and even lend it out—or buy it as a gift. Some copies might end up in libraries too and hopefully be borrowed often. The possibilities were endless!

During COVID lockdown, I had several requests for my older novels, especially All the Days of My Life, the sequel to Heléna. It seemed people had re-discovered Heléna on their bookshelves while bored at home, then decided they would like the sequel. I do not stock any of these two novels now, so asked family and friends if they would part with their old copies. Several were unearthed in this way and it was fun to give them another chance at life with new owners.

Then this past week, I received another request via email for All the Days of My Life. A lady wrote to tell me her husband had just finished reading Heléna and loved it. So … did I have any second-hand copies of the sequel available? I didn’t—but I knew a friend had one. I drove to pick it up and emailed the prospective buyers to sort out postage, only to discover this couple actually live in Canada! Apparently, they found my novel Heléna in their church library—but how did it get there? What’s more, the copy is signed by me, so I must have sold it personally to someone.

To be honest, I am amazed people anywhere are still reading my very first novel published way back in 2007—and I am certainly amazed a copy has ended up in a church library in Canada! Somehow, time and distance have been no barrier for this particular copy at least.

Yet, as I have reflected on this whole story, I have realised something even more amazing. I may not be able to install tracking devices on my books, but God knows where they have all got to—and God is quite able to carry them through time and space to wherever they can minister to someone. Those fifteen years since Heléna was published here in Australia are the mere blink of an eye to God—they are certainly no barrier to the One who was and is and always will be.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2 Peter 3:8

I find this verse so reassuring, don’t you? Somehow, it puts everything I worry about into much better perspective. Things may take longer to unfold in life than I might have hoped—and yes, my books may also not have as wide a distribution as others. But I can be at peace about it all, because I belong to the most awesome, powerful Creator of the universe for whom no barriers are ever insurmountable.

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One of our daughters is travelling in Europe at the moment. She recently left Romania and just arrived in Berlin. Already, she has emailed us from there and put photos up on Facebook – and already I have checked out where she is staying via Google maps. Now I can see clearly the places she is likely to visit and follow her emails and blogs better.

These days too, I regularly talk with friends overseas and even here in Sydney via skype. With one click of my mouse, I can dial up my friend in Turkey or another in the Netherlands and in a second, we can not only be talking freely but even see each other, if we choose to.

We in the developed world are becoming so used to instant communication, instant solutions, instant satisfying of our needs and desires. Why wait? Time is precious. And that’s the beauty of mobile phones. We can be contacted immediately wherever we are, so we can get on with arranging our lives, so we can do two things at once – like talking on the phone while driving.

In contrast, however, there is nothing instantaneous about writing novels. I am often asked how long it takes for me to write one and I always find this difficult to answer. Perhaps around a year, depending on what else I’m doing, but it is hard to quantify the many ‘bites’ needed to write and edit a novel, then re-write and re-edit, probably over and over again.

Then there is the small matter of finding a publisher. Sometimes that can take months, even years. And when one is found, it can take many more months before a book makes it through the editing process and into the publisher’s release schedule. And of course it usually takes a few years before authors can develop any sort of ongoing ‘fan base’ too. Writing books is, for most then, a very long term process.

I think God prepared me quite some time back for this aspect of writing novels. When I was nineteen and in my second year of my Arts degree, I enquired about combining a theology degree with it, but that turned out to be impossible. Almost thirty years later, however, after three years of fulltime study, I finally received that theology degree I had wanted to do so many years earlier.

So I’m convinced God is into long-term projects. What is thirty years to God? In 2 Pet 3:8-9, Peter writes:

Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

That’s God’s heart for us – patient, longsuffering, graciously walking with us, taking us at our own pace. One day, God will say ‘It is finished!’ yet again and wrap things up on this earth. But not yet – not until the time is right.

So I need to be patient too and hold on in faith. I need to keep writing those novels and other books, just as God guides, and not lose heart or become frustrated. God has a perfect time for everything. And I also need to relax so I can truly enjoy the journey of creating my next book, not seeing it as a task but as a privilege from God.

Now that’s something I’d miss out on if writing books were instantaneous!

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