I’ve been stuck a few times recently while working. Actually, while writing. I have to get a post or a sermon or a lecture ready, but I have no idea how to get started. I wander around the house. I work on other projects. I worry. And then finally, I just start writing at the beginning without knowing where the ending is.
Often, the beginning is with the Bible passage. I start writing an explanation of the text, retelling the story. As I write, I begin to see connections I had never seen. I begin to understand implications and intentions and arguments I’d never understood.
For example, I was working on a message for last Sunday. The primary text was from Genesis 22. It’s a story about Abraham and Isaac and a sacrifice. It’s a hard story from a contemporary perspective.
As I started writing about the story, retelling it, I realized that the concept of sacrificing a child to appease a god would not have been new to Abraham. It was present in the surrounding culture (just as it is in our world). What was new was that a god would step into the process and, by speaking to the person, stop the action. Instead of demanding the actual sacrifice, the intention was accepted by God.
I hadn’t seen that while simply starting at the text. I had to start working with it.
I think that may be true as we are asking God for wisdom (see yesterday’s post). Asking for insight isn’t like sitting on the sofa, feet up with a remote in the hand. It may be like getting a passport so you are ready to go if needed. It may be like studying a language so you can speak to people when you meet them in the ER or the market.
It may be like simply starting to write, believing that the next words will come.
Here’s an odd request: if someone local to me has a wire coil binding punch, could I borrow it for an experiment? Square holes is preferable.