That lyric came to mind the other day while I was reading Robynn Tolbert’s excellent Star of Justice.
I started thinking: This book needs to be out. People should be reading this! But then, as anyone who participated in the Marcher Lord Select contest knows, there are a great many books that “need to be out.” Yet we also know that God will release our books to the world — in His time.
When I was working with Jeff Gerke on paring down my “brilliant” but “bloated” manuscript (his words), I expressed my impatience to get the thing into hands of agents. Jeff told me, “God willing, Christian fiction will be in demand for decades to come. And publishers, like magazines, are hungry beasts. They must be fed new publishable material all the time, or they die. So agents and editors will forever be on the lookout for great material. No need to get it out there in a hurry.”
With that thought on my mind and an “In His Time” earworm firmly entrenched, I realized that the processes we put our manuscripts through — taking them to critique groups, entering them in contests, wrangling co-workers into reading them — is all part of making them beautiful in His time.
My book is better because Robynn pointed out some things that didn’t make sense to her, and her book is better because I pointed out some things that didn’t make sense to me.
There does come a time when we need to stop fiddling around with our manuscripts and let them go. Discerning when that time is probably takes experience as much as it does patience. But we mustn’t rush the process.
Like a butterfly working its way out of a cocoon, sometimes we must struggle and be patient while God makes our works — or our selves — beautiful in his time.