By Ken Walker –
Only those who have juggled multiple writing and editing projects on deadline can appreciate the kick in the gut I felt recently when an editor kicked back a devotional I had written. He said it didn’t quite fit theme and he wanted a new version.
At the time, I was behind on another deadline for a story in a national magazine, partially because I had been having problems getting responses. A key participant canceled an interview less than 24 hours prior to the arranged time. Then an agency I had worked with for many years wouldn’t send me some basic background details.
Already late getting the story written, this rewrite request arrived amid mounting stress. Explaining to the web site editor I was stacked up with work that week, I asked how soon he needed the revision. When he said there was no huge rush, I pushed it aside for the next day.
An Amazing Experience
The next morning I completed the draft of the first deadline assignment and decided to let it rest for a couple hours before sending it to the news editor.
Pausing for a few minutes to gather my thoughts, I decided to spend an hour on the devotional. If I could get a decent start on the rewrite, then hopefully I could finish it in another hour the following day.
What happened next is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened during more than 30 years of freelancing.
The Bible says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). I now know the reality of this verse. While I’m not comparing myself to biblical writers, I do know what the inspiration of the Holy Spirit feels like.
Leading of the Spirit
The devotional editor had suggested using the parable of the Prodigal Son as a starting point. After reading another reflection on this parable, I started to write and felt words flowing out of me so quickly I wondered where they came from.
Not only was I writing this material without any outline or master plan for what to say, when I reached the point where I commented on how this story represented an insult to many of the Jews listening to it, I marveled at the mere realization.
Although it didn’t exactly happen this way, it was as if the Holy Spirit came into the room and said, “Do you see what was going on here? Do you see that it wasn’t just that the Prodigal Son reached the ultimate in degradation by slopping pigs, whom the Jews considered unclean?
“Do you understand how many of the listeners thought Jesus was scandalous for even suggesting that one of their fellow Jews would stoop so low? That the Pharisees and religious teachers were so mad they were ready to put him on a cross? Do you understand the depth of what was going on here?”
Entering a Spiritual Plane
“Well, I didn’t before,” I thought. “But I do now.”
You can read the devotional here: Even When You Don’t Believe…. Aside from the divine insight the Spirit gave me to this passage (Luke 15:11-32), I finished the rewrite in 45 minutes. Not just started. Finished.
The next day I sent it in and within a half-hour got a note back from the editor saying, “This is fine.” This is the kind of fascinating experience any artist—writer, painter, poet, musician, or actor—lives for; it is worth far more than mere money.
To enter a spiritual plane where God did more than I asked or thought was possible (Ephesians 3:20) is phenomenal. It reaffirmed my faith and put a glow inside that still shines.