Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Three Questions

John 21:15-17
I started this blog approximately one year ago with the intention of serving God through it; to bring Him the glory, the honor, and the praise He deserves from me and to, perhaps, reach even one reader who is seeking Him through a simple word or phrase.  Having reached the first anniversary milestone, I was beginning to question myself and why I had attempted such a seemingly colossal task.  Doubt about my ability to write well enough and that I would capture an audience who would continue to return for more also crept in.  No sincere writer wants to bore his or her reader.  Rather, it is their desire to draw the reader into the magic of their story, to hold their interest as it unfolds, and to make them anxious for the dramatic conclusion.  If this is not accomplished, the result is a half-read book tossed into the mountain of unworthy manuscripts.

While taking college writing courses, my instructor impressed upon me the importance of a clean, precise, and well-written paper.  Borrowing a phrase from Lewis Carroll’s, Through the Looking Glass, she said, “Begin at the beginning and go through to the end.”  This sentence has stuck to me like glue as the single most-important factor in writing a successful story.  To me, it became the very essence of conveyance and structure and taught me that to not do so meant I would fail in my attempt to gain my readers’ trust and their interest in what I had to say.

As the last year stretched on, I began to notice that it was becoming more difficult to maintain a steady flow of new and fresh blog entries.  And as the blog’s first anniversary came to a close, the most dreaded experience every writer fears made an appearance: what some like to call “writer’s block.”  For the past month, the words would not come.  I felt as though my mind’s blackboard had been erased of every creative idea I had stored there.  I went to the Lord in prayer and pleadings with my problem, but even had difficulty forming my petition into any semblance of structure.  I continued to watch the traffic counter installed on this blog, its few visitor numbers slowly dwindling to only me and a random visit from perhaps one other person, now and then.  And as this problem progressed, it drove me deeper into doubt over continuing and the thought that perhaps God had fulfilled His purpose and it was time to quit.  It was at this critical turning point that the three questions came.

“…do you truly love Me more than these?” (v15)

My response to the question posed to me was typical of most Christians.  Translated from the original Greek, the word “love” used in the first question is “agape”, signifying volitional and self-sacrificing love.  But I mimicked Peter’s usage of the translated form, “phileo”, which signifies affection and brotherly love, telling Him that, of course, He knew I loved Him more than any other.

Once again the question came in the “agape” form, only this time it was aimed at my heart:

“…do you truly love Me?” (v 16)

As Jesus did with Peter, He spoke directly to me.  And true to human nature, just as Peter did, I once again responded with the “phileo” form of love, reconfirming that, indeed, I did love Him.

But the third time the question was asked, it dawned on me what I was doing and the shame it brought to me equaled what Peter must have felt when he later realized the depth of Jesus’ question:

“Do you love Me?”  (v 17)

The process took over a month, but Jesus was able to finally break through the barrier I had built up around my heart concerning this blog.  As He did with Peter, He turned the question around by using the Greek form we both had used in our response, and it encouraged me to reply with the appropriate one.  My mistake?  I had made the idea of this blog more important than the One Whom it was meant to serve.  It was not intentional, but it happened.  By gently asking me the question three times, Jesus forced me to reexamine my true motives for the blog and to go back to the beginning of its intended purpose:

“Feed My sheep.”

Each time Jesus posed the question to Peter, He followed it up with the command to feed His lambs with His Gospel.  Out in the vast stretches of this world is a flock belonging to Him that needs to be nourished with His Word.  Perhaps even more important, however, is that there are uncounted others who have not yet heard it and who do not know that He truly is the only way to salvation.  

It is in places like this blog that can afford Him the opportunity to convey His message to the lost who may by accident stumble upon it.  However, it is not up to me to determine the number of them that visit here, whether it is one or one thousand.  God will send those He intends to receive benefit from it.  It is not for my glory that the words that are poured into me and then transferred to these pages edifies a reader or draws another.  The honor and praise that emanates from the entries posted here belong solely to Him, not to me or any other.  Neither does the responsibility of choosing what to write on this blog lie with me.  The ideas for the stories you read here have, in the past, always come after much prayer.  He has never failed me when I have asked Him what it is He wants to say on a particular day.  In fact, there are some I write that seem to come from somewhere else than from my own thoughts.  Those are the ones I always marvel over the most.  

As I did in the beginning, I must follow this blog through to the end of the story I am writing here.  God will decide when that time will be, and I am once again confident that the end of the story will be a glorious one.  After all, it has already been written, I have read it many times and never grow tired of it, and I can guarantee its conclusion is beyond our wildest hopes and dreams.

As another year unfolds before me and this blog, I know that as long as I remember those three questions and the reason behind them, the Lord will faithfully provide me with the words He wants written here.  I pray you have been, and continue to be, fed to the fullest as you briefly visit my tiny spot on the internet.  I know my life has been enriched in providing my stories to you.  But I also pray you will long to be filled even more, to hunger and thirst after His righteousness and  truth, and to share with me His unbreakable promises as we await His return.

Oh... and my answer to His final question?

“Yes, Lord.  I understand now.  I do love You.”

1 comment:

Karie said...

In a world often starving for the 'Bread of life', our love for and testimony of the Savior is increasingly needed. Thank you for sharing your faith and commitment to Him.