And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
(Romans 8:28, NASB)
Anyone who has ever experienced the betrayal of a spouse involved in an extramarital affair has reason to wonder if the above verse could possibly be true. I know I would have questioned it in the summer of 1974, had I been a believer at that time (I came to know Christ a year and a half later). Little could I conceive of a day when God would take the pain of that experience and use it for good. And how He would do that was also inconceivable. After all, I was years away from thinking about writing a book, let alone seeing one published.
Fast forward almost 25 years to January 1999 and the official release of my first CBA novel, The Forgiving Hour. It’s the story of infidelity, heartbreak, and God’s wonderful grace and forgiveness. A whole lot of me went into that book (personal experiences, things God taught me and spoke to me). Not just in the betrayed wife, but in the young mistress and in the son. It was a book that I have never felt “ownership” for. It’s always belonged to the Lord.
On January 17, 1999, my pastor turned over his pulpit to me and had me share my testimony of how I came to write The Forgiving Hour. Of course, there was much more to my testimony than that. It was the story of how I came to know Christ in 1976, how the end of my marriage in 1981 caused me to look for security in the wrong places which then caused me to drift away from God, how through books and circumstances and loving people God wooed me back into fellowship with Him and then restored me and set me on fire. It was the story of how God took a painful part of my life and was turning it to good, to bring healing and comfort to others.
When I got home that afternoon, I discovered an email from a woman who did book reviews. She said she’d read The Forgiving Hour in one day and that it had made her open her Bible for the first time in years, made her realize that she had been caring more about what people thought of her than about pleasing God. I sat at my computer and wept for joy. That something I wrote might turn someone toward God and His word seemed the most amazing and wonderful thing.
Much more has happened to me and in my career in the years since then. Many highs and lows. But I will never forget how I felt, knowing that God was going to use me and the talent He gave me. I will never be a brilliant writer. I do the very best that I can, yet I constantly see how short I fall from what I hoped to achieve. And still God takes what I offer and uses it despite all my flaws and weaknesses.
I stand in awe of a mighty, gracious God.