Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What's That In Your Hand?

The Ideal - Jason and I holed up in a hotel room with a white board and two dry erase pens; a full night of brainstorming plot ideas; caffeine in tasty forms; a true symbiosis of the brains some time past midnight that leads to a final plot twist that has both of us hooting and hollering and waking the neighbors. This is how the skeleton for our upcoming book, Blown Coverage, was created.

The New Reality - Jason sitting in his home office in Atlanta, I on my couch in Denver; both of us staring at a Skyped video-version of the other on our respective computers; a white board set on Jason's desk chair and me trying to make out the pixelated words; ideas really starting to flow, but our time being cut short by a knock on my front door from the guy who's come to blow out my sprinklers. This is what the first brainstorming session for book three of the Riley Covington series looked like yesterday.

The situation reminds me a bit of a story in Exodus 4. Moses is standing shoeless in front of the burning bush. God is telling him to go to the most powerful ruler in the world, and say to him, "Uh, Pharaoh, you wouldn't mind if I took your free, pyramid-building work force and skedaddle, would you?" Moses, sensing that the process might not be quite as smooth as God was making it out to be, asked, "What if they don't believe me or won't listen to me?"

God: "What's that in your hand?"

Moses: "A big wooden staff."

God: "Throw it on the ground."


God: "Now get back here and pick the snake up."

Moses: "You made it into a snake, You pick it up!"

God: ". . ."

Moses: "Okay, okay. Hey, it's a staff again. Cool trick, God."

The line that has always stood out to me is God's question: "What is that in your hand?" In the same way God used whatever Moses happened to be holding at the time, God can take whatever we have and whatever circumstance we're in and use them to accomplish what He wants.

So, here Jason and I are in a less than ideal writing situation. We've prayed it through, and know that God wants us to continue the work we've been doing. I guess the question is what's in Jason's and my hands? Well, we've got a lot of great ideas, we've got a strong friendship, we've got a good working history, we've got Skype, and, most importantly, we've got a calling from God. Compared with a big wooden staff, I guess we're actually doing pretty well.

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