An odd gift
By Sheila Jacobs
It seemed an odd gift to give. Odder, perhaps, because of the nature of the giving. A young woman from my church had bought an old typewriter – in pretty good condition – from a charity shop. She was pleased with her purchase, but it wasn’t long before the Lord impressed upon her that it wasn’t hers to keep. She was to give it away. She should give it to – me.
I think she was more astonished in having heard so clearly from Jesus than I was to receive the unexpected present. Why would God have asked this lady to give me such a gift? It wasn’t as if she was a wealthy person who had just bought something for fun, for amusement. She was going through a fairly difficult period in her life; money was tight. Therefore, this was a precious item.
‘So, God, what is this all about?’
Is it true?
The previous couple of weeks had been difficult for me. The result was that God was revealing Himself to me as my heavenly Father in a fresh way. He was showing me the baggage that I didn’t need in the ‘rooms of my life’. I had to learn to think, ‘Is this true?’ when a negative thought appeared in my mind – a thought from the past, about a relationship, a situation, a person. It was all about taking thoughts captive (see 2 Corinthians 10:5) – I picture it a bit like capturing them in a butterfly net!
Someone had helpfully challenged me about how I viewed myself: they encouraged me to think, is it true? Did the opinion I had about myself line up with the Word of God? If it didn’t – I had to let go of it. I had to discern whether this was someone else’s ‘stuff’, or mine. And I realised how much I lived in a world of half-truths, conjecture and ‘rubbish’ – much of what whirled around in my brain wasn’t lining up with what God said about me!
But what about this strange gift?
Out of the blue
Then I realised what God was telling me. I remembered hammering away at my old manual typewriter, just like the one I’d been given, producing manuscripts that I sent away to publishers and were always returned, usually with a polite note. Writing was my ambition, my ‘idol’, from childhood.
However, eventually I realised I must give up my ‘idol’. That came about when I was ill. Too poorly to work, with what was diagnosed as Meniere’s disease, all I could do was walk my dog in the fields. Anxiety about the illness meant I couldn’t travel, or go to church, or work. And having completed a diploma in theology with LBC, I so wanted to ‘work’ for God! But at that time Jesus became very real to me as I heard the Lord say, ‘I don’t want to work for Me; I want to do My work, in and through you.’ I knew that my one ‘big thing’ was wanting to write a novel that would be published. But I relinquished that desire to Jesus, and had perfect peace about it. Amazingly enough, six months later, my novel Aliens and Strangers was accepted for publication. And this was after I had failed a writers’ course.
Some years later, health much improved, I struggled to find a job. Then I went to a church meeting, was filled with the Holy Spirit, stopped asking God for a job, couldn’t stop praising Him, and on the ninth day received a phone call out of the blue which opened the door for me to become a freelance editor of Christian books. A job I do to this day. And I still write: I’ve just had my second sole author non-fiction book published by DLT.
So, where does the typewriter fit in?
‘Look how far I’ve brought you. Look at what I have done for you.’
‘Yes, Lord; I see that. And if You have done all this for me, how much You love me. Everything I have, I have because of You. You are the One who has done this. Yes, I see You loved me so much You sent Your only Son to die for me so I could rest in Your love. It’s all about relationship.’
Everything I have, I have because of You.
When we see how far He has brought us, we can surely trust Him with whatever comes next. But let’s make sure, whatever happens in this new year – whatever we are hoping for, longing for – that God is always first. In 2018, make it your goal to pursue intimacy with Him, first and foremost. To get to know Him; to receive His love in personal friendship with you. Review the past and see what He has done for you already. And marvel at what He has in store for your future.
Receive His love in personal friendship with you.
As you spend time with Him – not ‘working’, just resting, being with Him, enjoying His company – you may begin to experience Him in a whole new way… a way that will revolutionise the coming year, internally, for you.
Walk into 2018 with your hand in your Father’s hand!
Sheila Jacobs is an award-winning author, writer and editor of Christian books and magazines. Single, she lives in north Essex. Passionate about pursuing God and encouraging others to encounter Him, she currently serves as a deacon in her Elim church, and as a day chaplain in an Anglican retreat centre.