Jason E. Fort
Truth through Fiction...Digging My Ditch
Today in church, my pastor spoke about a story from the Old Testament about Elisha, and how he informed three kings that if they wanted to see God's power and providence, they would have to put some work into it, and dig some ditches so that God would provide their armies water. My pastor then made it clear that Jesus did the same thing in the New Testament time and time again when he performed miracles. He would heal people, but include them in part of the process by asking them to go and do something, such as "Now pick up your mat, and walk", as he said to a man who had once been lame. The good pastor went on to say that when we dig our own ditches, we all have to start somewhere. There is no other way to start digging a ditch manually other than a little bit at a time. So I heard all these words this morning, and they got me thinking. I started thinking about how I can dig my ditch to show faith in my Lord. I am like my pastor in that one thing I want most in this world is to see God work wonders and bring entire nations, or huge groups of people, to believe in Him. So 'if only' the God I love and believe so strongly in would show me His power and turn many people's hearts - then I could point it out to others and say, 'That's My God right there...He did that.' What God helped me understand today was that I shouldn't expect Him to show me anything, until I show Him I am willing to put my own faith to work. Deep down, I think I already knew this...and perhaps have even begun this process - but today's message has given me resolve. I have renewed resolve in a mission that I started off and on 12 years ago, when I decided I wanted to write for Christ. I would come up with a creative idea for some inspirational but fictional story that I could tell the world to illustrate how God could work in their life...only to be interrupted by yet another story idea. And so I kept up the habit for a awhile, spinning my writing wheels, and showing no fruit. It was like I wanted to dig a ditch...but would just stick the shovel in the ground, then sit there and stare at it for a while. Until about 10 months ago, when God inspired me, and revealed a strange idea about a fascinating tale I could tell - illustrating how the darkness in this world can overtake someone's entire being, and yet God could still use those dark events to bring about hope and light. So now I had a story...and I ran with it. Because of this new resolve I mentioned, I can now begin making the shovel move. I have discovered that I can start digging my ditch, a little bit at a time. I have found that If I use the creativity and imagination God gave me, I can find more and more ways to tell God's truth - through fiction. What I started less than a year ago became a full story. And once I finished my story, I started by telling a few people. I let a select few friends read my writing. I got some good feedback, and I decided - Wow - maybe I have something here. So I tried to reach out to publishers. Being the impatient and stubborn soul that I am, I decided I couldn't wait on the right publisher or agent...so I went ahead and put my story out there. At first, it was very slow going. I had a little book signing, and I was able to get my paperback in the hands of a handful of people. But I offered my book for free in the e-book market...and the next thing I know I have my story in over 600 people's hands. Now mind you - a lot of these people only got the book when it was free...but they still got it. I know for a fact I have had readers comment on my writing in personal e-mails and messages who are world travelers, and stumbled upon my book on some e-book website. So my story is getting out there. No - I might not be gifted in the missions field, and I might not feel some calling to become a pastor. But like my pastor, I long for that day to see God move nations. I also long to see Him move MY NATION. But perhaps I need to show a little faith. So I have decided that, despite not making much money doing it, perhaps I can get my stories out there into a few people's hands in various places - and maybe they will see the message I am trying to send. Don't ask me how this adventure ends; only God knows that. But hey - I will keep digging my ditch.