At a recent writer’s group meeting with Harriette Austin, she offered some advice that really resonated with me. A member of the group was bemoaning the difficulties in the market now with the economy taking a toll on book sales. She wondered if she should even go to the trouble to send out query letters to agents. Harriette acknowledged the difficulties but quoted actress Ruth Gordon, who was a classmate of Harriette’s at Yale. The quote went, “Ignore the facts.” Ruth often listed all the reasons she shouldn’t have been a successful actress, but she didn’t pay attention to all the reasons she couldn’t be an actress. She persevered and ultimately did have a wonderful career in film. Harriette pointed out the same thing applies to this volatile market. If we’re writers, we have to keep writing.
Later after the writers’ group meeting, I picked up the Daily Guideposts which I usually read right before I go to bed. In that day’s devotion, John Sherrill shared about his experiences in the Second World War. Placed in a staging area in North Africa, he used to lie in his bed and listen to Berlin’s Axis Sally on the radio. Her grasp of the details of American troop movements was disarming, and her declarations they’d all be killed made him fearful. If she had the facts right about the troop movements, was she right about them being killed as well? But John, now eighty-eight, said, “You have to ignore the facts” and trust God.
Ignore the facts. How strange it was for me to get that advice two times in less than a couple of hours. I suppose, I too, have been studying some less than encouraging facts--facts that would steer me away from writing because of the seeming impossibility of ever getting a book published. Then there are the facts that might discourage me from continuing to hope for a friend’s healing, or a family member who’s struggling. Facts seem so final.
But the real finality lies in the truth of God. Jesus said in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It’s not the facts that set us free, but God’s truth. The truth is that if it’s God’s purpose for me to have a book published, nothing can stop Him. The truth is God is the great physician in my friend’s life. And for the family member who’s struggling, nothing is impossible with God.
Remember, God’s truth trumps the facts any day.