In the Bible there has always been two individuals I’ve related to the most.
The first is the father who brings his demon-possessed son to Christ to be healed. When Jesus brought it to the man’s attention that he needed faith in order to see his son healed, the man cried out in his desperation…
“Lord I believe! Help my unbelief!”
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve cried that very prayer to God. And I find myself praying that today.
This brings us to Gideon, the second man I relate to in the Bible.
Gideon is well known for his doubts and his testing of God to see if God truly called him to fight a war against impossible odds. God told him to fight against the Midianites and their allies. The army encamped against Gideon was described as being as numerous as locusts, and their camels without number, like the sands of the seashore.
If that wasn’t daunting enough, God tested Gideon’s faith further…
Gideon started out with 32,000 men on his side. Now to most of us, we’d say that’s a pretty reasonable army. But God said that was too many to take into battle. So 22,000 left. Then Gideon had 10,000. Still a big number.
Still too many.
In the end, God cut Gideon’s host down to three hundred men. Three hundred men to fight an innumerable enemy, and armed with only trumpets, torches, and pitchers.
Because God wanted Gideon and everyone else to know that the battle was His, and not theirs. That day they blew their trumpets, smashed their pitchers, and ran like wild men, torches blazing, directly at the enemy, and God gave them the victory.
What does this have to do with writing?
Well, I’ll tell you.
Today I sat down at the urging of fellow writing professionals to work on my writing platform. I was instructed to look at my numbers, on my blog, on social media, and write all that down so I could prove to agents and publishers that I had the numbers to potentially sell my book.
Some of you know where this is going. You’ve probably been there before, or are there now.
I already knew my numbers were minuscule. You hear it all the time from professionals in the industry. You need to have thousands of followers to have a viable platform. Got to keep readers engaged if you want to sell books!
Well I don’t have thousands of followers. In fact, for the longest time, I thought I had a little over three hundred…kind of like Gideon.
Then I looked at the stats page on my blog.
That dreaded stats page. Do you know what it told me?
Fifty. You have fifty followers on your site.
My jaw dropped. What happened to the three hundred? I went back to my home page. It still said a little over 300. But the stat page told me a different story. And stats, I’m afraid, don’t often lie. At least not in this instance.
I broke down.
The same old questions rose up within me. “How am I supposed to be able to convince agents that I’m a writer worth investing in, when I don’t have the platform they want. It seems that writing isn’t enough! You have to know people, and they don’t seem to think I know enough people. They’ll take one look at my numbers and click delete.
That’s when God whispered to my heart. “This is your Gideon moment.”
You thought things were hopeless at three hundred some. Well guess what? I knocked it down to fifty. Now who are you going to trust?
Well, what was I supposed to say to that?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. All I could do was laugh through my tears and shake my head.
So now that I’ve been thoroughly put in my place, I’m stepping forward, reminded once again that this publication battle isn’t up to me. It’s in God’s hands, and He’ll do with it what He chooses to do with it. In the end. All the glory will go to Him. Not me.
And not the numbers!
Oh! And by the way, for those of you who’ve beta read my book, now you know why my second protagonist is named Gideon. Even a broken vessel, who lacks faith, can be used by God.