Bonus Content: Divine Appointments
Editor’s note: Recently Camille Eide shared on the ACFW loop a story about experiencing a Divine Appointment. Her brief email moved me, and I just knew there was more there to share, and to learn. I asked her to reflect on the experience and consider sharing it here as well. You’ll be glad she did. I am. MLE
I am no longer surprised at the way God shows up ahead of me on this publishing road. I’m grateful, awed, and humbled, but not surprised. The Lord has taught me much in the last several years about recognizing His plan for me—and about watching for and submitting to His lead.
One of the ways He’s directed me as a writer and novelist is through unexpected doors of opportunity:
- Receiving scholarships to large writing conferences after praying for the means to go. Three different times.
- An airplane conversation with Randy Ingermanson that led to getting an agent.
- Meeting the requirements for writing contests that honored me with the title of finalist and garnered the attention of editors. Twice.
So I shouldn’t have been stunned when a recent story in my local paper (you may have to search for Camille’s name) about my yet-to-be-published, “faith-filled love stories,” led to a phone call from a Tyndale House publisher.
Small town connection
As a result of being a 2011 Genesis finalist, a reporter contacted me and decided to do a story about me being a local writer. The day the article ran, I was at work and had just finished reading it when my office phone rang. (I’m a polite church secretary by day, manic novelist by night.) The call was from John Van Diest (right), associate publisher in nonfiction with Tyndale.
He’d seen the article because he lives in my tiny hometown. I was a little stunned. We chatted a minute, and then, because of our local connection (and because I still wasn’t thinking straight), I suggested we get acquainted over coffee.
An unexpected offer
John is a gentleman with a quiet voice, intelligent eyes, and a passion to spread the Word of God.
We met at Starbucks a few days later. John is a 79-year-old gentleman with a quiet voice, intelligent eyes, and a passion to spread the Word of God all over the world. He insisted on buying my grande latte and got himself the standard cup of regular coffee—a choice he claims is a sign of his generation.
I discovered John founded Multnomah Publishers and went on to start other publishing houses, both in the U.S. and around the world, bringing Bibles, books, and biblical materials to millions. John is a connector by nature and has worked on publishing projects with people all over the world. So I was a little surprised when John offered to help me.
His question and my answer was akin to God offering me anything I want and my asking for a cheeseburger and a Coke.
“This may be presumptuous,” John said after we had talked a bit, “but how can I help you?” Totally unprepared, I mumbled something about hoping to get my two books seen by the right people if the house currently looking at my work doesn’t pick it up. He just smiled and said he would give someone at Tyndale a nudge for me. I think his question and my answer was akin to God offering me anything I want and my asking for a cheeseburger and a Coke.
The nature of God’s economy
We talked over an hour. He asked about my writing and favorite authors, but it was sort of awful to hear myself speak after hearing all he has done. And he didn’t share it in a boastful way—he simply has a passion to fulfill the Great Commission. He doesn’t want to be “sitting around on his fanny” when time is short and there are still people to reach with the Gospel. I could only listen, amazed and blessed by his servant’s heart.
I felt I was staring into a sea of possibilities with no idea where to dive.
By the time our visit was done, I felt I was staring into a sea of possibilities with no idea where to dive. John Van Diest, founder of publishing houses, friend to world renowned authors, and instrumental in bringing books and Bibles to millions, offered to help me. Just meeting him was an encouragement and blessing.
Part of the Master’s plot?
I can scarcely imagine what the Lord might bring about as a result of my meeting with John. But I am encouraged to know that God has a calling and a plan for me and that He will do whatever He will to bring that plan about, with or without my participation or my knowledge.
Psalm 40:5 says, “Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us.” I am reminded that the Lord is the Master Plotter, the Supreme Author, and He loves a good story. I am also reminded that God gives us particular gifts—such as a knack for stringing words together—as a way of directing us, of placing a calling on our lives. It is our responsibility to develop those gifts in order to bring Him glory. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”
Sometimes God works in us by steering us into the path of others as part of bringing about His good purpose—His master plot. I suppose my job then is to let go of the wheel and let Him steer. After all, He can see a lot further down the road than I can.