Why I Write, Part 2 (or, Knowing God Will Bless Our Work)

a seagull perched atop the safety railing on a pier

My son participated in a community-wide summer youth orchestra and concert. During his practices I went to the gym after dropping him off. One week when I entered the locker room to stow my gear, I noticed a man looking a bit lost. There were other men nearby, but for some reason, he approached me and told me his lock didn’t fit on the lockers.

He’d been trying a locker with a bent padlock loop so I tested his lock on another locker…right next to my usual one. It worked and he was pleased and thankful.

On my next visit to the gym, I noticed his lock on my favorite locker. “Really?,” I thought. “Of all the lockers in this room, he took mine?” I saw him after my workout and we chatted a bit. His name is Will. I found out he usually exercises in a gym 15 miles south of mine, but his daughter was also in the same summer orchestra as my son. (Still, I wondered why he chose my locker.)

The third time I saw him at the gym (using my locker), I handed him an announcement card for the summer musical at my church. He was very interested and appreciative. After that exchange, I never saw him in the gym again. In the final days of orchestra practices, I noticed him while waiting to pick up my son and he shared that he bought tickets to the show for his entire family.

What happened with Will's family at the musical and thereafter, I don’t know. I may never know. But I know it wasn’t by chance that Will needed my help (and borrowed my favorite locker.) God planned it all so that Will’s family could hear the gospel at my church, and maybe enjoy an everlasting life with God.

One great thing about taking steps that matter
in God’s kingdom is that they are not wasted.
God blesses that kind of sacrifice,
no matter how big or small it is.

This is my 24th blog post and I admit I occasionally wonder if it’s worthwhile. In Why I Write, Part 1, I shared that God called me to teach and write, and that I would write until He tells me to stop. But my human side wonders at times. I’m not sure how many people read my blog articles or my quick thoughts on social media.

But God blesses our work when it’s His work. He redeemed my somewhat irritated invitation to Will at the gym. He encourages people through my writing. And He whispered reassurance and hope into the hearts of two women named Naomi and Ruth. They committed their lives to His service and He blessed their sacrifice. As it was in the story of Baby Moses (see Part 1), coincidence and irony were also prominent characters in Naomi and Ruth’s story (Ruth 1-4).

Our perspectives are limited and sometimes we perceive coincidences as isolated events. But there is great potential in coincidences because God is behind them. When we feel the urge to say, “Oh no,” or “Not again,” or “Are you kidding me?,” we should make an effort to acknowledge God’s hand in the situation. We may not always understand where He’s going with the coincidence, but we can be sure He’s up to something.

Naomi struggled to see God’s involvement in a very desperate phase of her life.  She left a comfortable situation when a famine urged her to move away from Bethlehem with her husband and two sons. Her husband eventually died. Sometime later, her sons married, then they also died. The famine ended, and Naomi finally returned home with one of her daughters-in-law named Ruth. When her friends and family greeted her, she said, “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara.” (Mara means bitter.)

God used irony to get Naomi’s attention.
Sometimes He slows us down to get our attention
because He wants to do something big,
like He did with Naomi (Ruth 1:13, 20-21).

Naomi dreaded bitter days ahead, but God was already working out a better set of coincidences. Long story short, a relative named Boaz discovered Ruth in his field scraping up any grain left behind by his harvesters. The two hit it off as their paths were supernaturally woven together with heart-capturing scenes from a magical romance. So, Boaz went through all the necessary steps to marry Ruth, including purchasing Naomi’s land. Of course, the plot thickened with the threat of another relative who had first dibs on the land (and Ruth). But God quickly dissipated that irony, and Boaz even got the other man’s sandal to boot. (Pun intended. Read Ruth to get the full story.)

a seagull in a different body position perched atop the safety railing on a pier
God not only speaks through coincidence (see Part 1), He also reminds us that He stands behind His work. One of the ways He does this is by using coincidence to direct our faith and appreciation towards Him. He gives us confidence that we are walking the path he laid out for us as individuals. Think about how that is sometimes true for you.

In the throes of devastation, Naomi found rich blessing and renewed hope. God uses coincidence to bless us and give us hope. When we know He is at work, we recognize his hand in our experiences, and, if we watch closely, we also notice that the blessings and outcomes extend far beyond ourselves.

Naomi became a grandmother, and her grandson became the grandfather of the great war hero and psalmist, King David, God's chosen king. Once bitter and empty, she experienced unimaginable fullness: revitalization, a support system, and a grandson who catalyzed the lineage of her nation. Naomi was blessed as the guardian of David’s grandfather. (I wonder what lessons she taught her grandson Obed, whose name means servant and worshiper, a name that somehow also describes Naomi and Ruth.)

Why do I write? The short answer is because I know God wants me to write. He told me this in many ways, much of which included coincidence. I also know, as I watch what happens around me, that God blesses His work, which keeps me writing, regardless of the number of 'likes'  I might (or might not) see. When we commit to God and do His work, He blesses us along with others who may be involved in the work and with those who become beneficiaries of the work.

So, I hope as we transition from this post into our everyday lives, we can:

Acknowledge that God manages the events in our lives.
Enjoy the hope that accompanies interesting twists of events.
Expect God to follow up hope with blessing.
Imagine how God’s plans extend way beyond our worlds.

Read more blog posts here.

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  1. I think all of us that blog have felt the same way at times. I once read that we need to remember that everything we do is for an audience of one and that helps me when I feel the “whys” creep in. May God bless you and your words.

    1. Yes, an audience of One. Such a great reminder. Thanks for your comment and kind words, Yvonne.

  2. This is a awesome post my friend. Yes! You speaking God’s Truth is worthwhile. Keep writing keep your focus on God. He knows your plans and writing is one of them. You give encouragement to other and show God is our Hope. God puts us in peoples lives for a purpose and it brings Him Glory. I love your story and it gives me comfort to trust God. He knows all. Have a blessed Monday!

    1. You are so kind, Sydell, and I am always encouraged by your steadfastness and trust in God. You are a blessing to me as I'm sure you are to others. God bless you and your family.

  3. I love writing. I have learned that I may never know how my messages may help someone or just give them a smile. Praying before writing gives me peace.

    1. A perfect practice, praying before writing. Thank you for mentioning it and for reading.

  4. Love this post. I'm in my fourth year of blogging, and I've had my share of 'why do I keep doing this?' moments. I just know I need to, I love it, and He made me to do it. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one. God bless!

    1. I'm sure we're not the only ones, and I bet you have some stories about how God confirmed His call to you with either coincidence or irony. :) I'm glad there are many of us following God's writing call because there are readers out there waiting to read posts/books/etc. from us (and perhaps others who have yet to answer the call). God bless your ministry.

  5. I've always said that there's no such thing as a coincidence really, it's God managing things just right! Thank you for sharing this story! The book of Ruth is one of my favorites.

    1. You're very welcome. In Part 1 I introduce that very idea, that coincidence is God managing things. I love that God gave us books about people like Ruth and Esther because there are women out there with great faith and we probably don't hear about them enough. Thanks for reading.

  6. I love this reminder to show up. Most of life seems so ordinary and routine and I love how you were aware and ready when God mixed things up a bit. I need to remember to be on the lookout for those opportunities!

    1. Yes! Noticing God's involvement is not the natural response, and too often not my natural response. In Part 1 I shared about how I'm not the likely writer, soooo not likely. You may enjoy that story. Have a great week. God bless you in it.

  7. This is such a fantastic post, Stephen. Very encouraging for a fellow author. We don't always know what God is doing through us, and sometimes the rewards or fruit isn't what we hope it would be, but it's exactly what God planned all along. And that's enough to keep pressing on.

    1. So true, Heather. Just knowing that He's working out His plan encourages us to keep moving. I'm glad the post was meaningful for you. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  8. Hi Stephen!

    I enjoyed reading about you and Will. You are right. The steps we take while walking with God are never a waste of time.

    Congrats on your 24th blog; I think what you're doing is worthwhile.

    That's the thing with blogging; we never know who's reading our blogs, but I appreciate your blog posts.

    God has so many ways to get out attention; one of them is, as you say, by slowing us down occasionally.

    With respect!
    Edna Davidsen

    1. Hi Edna. Thanks for your encouraging words. So much of what we humans do are good for just the moment, but with God, what we do is good for eternity. What a concept. And I had no idea at the time that I would be writing about Will and praying for him and his family as I wrote. And now I'm sure others have prayed as well. I hope we see them in Heaven someday. :)

  9. It's so hard sometimes not knowing/not seeing a physical ROI on your work but God knows and will reward. And he is using your talents to forward the kingdom! Thank you for being faithful. You have encouraged me today.

    1. I'm encouraged from your comment so glad we can encourage each other! Glad to go through this adventure with fellow writers like you.


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