A couple of years ago, I found myself smack in the middle of the wilderness. My proposal for a second memoir had been rejected by more than a dozen publishers, and I had no idea which step to take next.
My editor suggested that I write a much different book instead – a biography of Martin and Katharina Luther. The problem was, I felt unqualified. I imagined a professor writing that biography – someone who wore tweed, smoked a pipe and listened to opera on NPR; someone much smarter than me.
I didn’t write the proposal my editor wanted. Instead, I told him I would “think about it,” and then I swept the idea under the rug.
A few weeks later, I mentioned the biography in an email exchange with a good friend. “I agree with your editor,” she replied immediately. “I think you are the perfect person to write this book. I really believe God is in this.”
When Moses was in the wilderness, he turned to his brother-in-law and asked for help. “Please do not leave us,” Moses begged Hobab. “You know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes.”(Numbers 10:31)
Blinded by uncertainty and anxiety, Moses understood the value of an another perspective. He understood that his brother-in-law could serve as his eyes, to help seek out opportunity in the unfamiliar terrain.
Often when we find ourselves in the middle of difficult circumstances, we turn inward, consumed by questions and self-doubt. Yet God gives us community for a reason. He puts particular people in our lives to serve as guides and advisors, to point the way when we can’t see it ourselves.
Like Moses’ brother-in-law, my friend was able to see what I couldn’t. I hadn’t recognized the opportunity because it hadn’t looked exactly the way I’d imagined or expected it should. But my friend saw what I had missed, and she encouraged me in the right direction. She was my eyes in the wilderness when I couldn’t see beyond the next bend.