Rabid Fun

John Cowart's Daily Journal: A befuddled ordinary Christian looks for spiritual realities in day to day living.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Inspiration For Digging Ditches

Wednesday I continued to edit the diary of Samuel Ward (1577-1639). He was one of the translators of the King James Bible which was published in 1611.…

Who’s interested in such stuff?

I don’t know why I bother.

I often feel as though I’d do just as well playing golf, or collecting odd beer bottles, or digging ditches as I do writing.

For over 25 years I have felt this way, discouraged and down, but I’ve kept on writing and making just enough sales to subsist and give me hope of better days.

Often I’ve thought that my family would have been better off if I’d taken a job as a counterman at a fast food place and devoted the same amount of time and energy to that job as I have to writing books.

At my age maybe even now I could get a job as a greeter at Wal-Mart perched on a stool at the door and saying, “Young Lady, turn around and go back home and put on some decent clothes. You can’t come in here dressed like that”.

Well, maybe being a Wal-Mart greeter is not my calling.

I’m too old to dig ditches; but I’d make a great geriatric bag boy at the grocery store…

Yesterday also, I received a royalty check for my first quarter book sales… Pathetic. Makes no business sense to keep on doing what I do.

A few years ago I sold foreign translation rights in a Third World Country to my book on prayer; that publisher paid me ten dollars ($10) for what represented a couple of year’s work in my life.

What man with any business sense at all would agree to a deal like that? Makes no sense.

I really don’t know why I bother.

But bother I do.

And here (besides plain old vanity) is one of the reasons:

Yesterday I received one of those e-mail devotions by Charles Spurgeon, a 19th Century preacher in London, from my son’s free devotional site at http://www.rdex.net/ .

Spurgeon mentions a Bible verse I’d never noticed before.

It talks about digging ditches.

Three kings attacked the land of Moab. Their armies got bogged down in a desert with no water in sight. Men and horses were perishing for lack of water. Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, sent for the Prophet Elisha and a musician.

And as the music played, this message came from the Lord:

“Make this valley full of ditches. For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye and your cattle and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord”.

The army dug dry ditches in the dusty desert.

No wind came.

No cloud formed.

No rain showered down.

Yet the next morning, those ditches were filled with drinking water. The armies of three kings were saved. They went on to defeat Moab.

Spurgeon said, “Here was a case of human helplessness — not a drop of water could all the valiant men procure from the skies or find in the wells of earth. Thus often the people of the Lord are at their wits' end; they see the vanity of the creature, and learn experimentally where their help is to be found. Still the people were to make a believing preparation for the divine blessing — they were to dig the trenches in which the precious liquid would be held”.

So, here I am writing stuff hardly anyone reads. Writing books no body buys. Typing on air. Digging ditches in the desert without a cloud in sight.

Futile effort?

On some shallow level I do try to honor the name of Christ in my work; but honestly I can’t remember the last time anyone said they’d been drawn to Christ because of my witness. Wasted energy? The game not worth the candle?

Spurgeon said we must by varied agencies, efforts and prayers make ourselves ready to be blessed. We must dig ditches in the desert to hold the cool water God will send.

His job is to supply the life-giving water; my job is to dig the ditches in the desert for Him to fill.

In his own day Spurgeon was called the Prince of Preachers. He said, “In a silent and mysterious manner the pools were filled. The Lord has His own sovereign modes of action: He is not tied to manner and time as we are, but doeth as He pleases among the sons of men. It is ours thankfully to receive from Him, and not to dictate to Him”.

I’m reminded of an old hymn in which God says:

I will pour water on him who is thirsty,
I will pour floods upon the dry ground.
Open your heart to the gift I am bringing,
While ye are seeking me, I will be found.

Meanwhile, here’s John Cowart.

Digging another ditch.

Roll up your pant’s legs!

Must gonna be a flood — Someday.

Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info
posted by John Cowart @ 3:30 AM


At 5:30 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

You sound quite discouraged.....but it seems that you have been faithful to your passion...that is a good thing

At 6:19 PM, Blogger Kezzie said...

Hi John! Long time no read! We don't always know that we are doing good. We may not know until that day when we meet our Lord in heaven, but he knows what's in our heart, and somewhere somehow, someone may have been very blessed by your books. Hold firm to that. And I take it that you love what you do, therefore that has to be good. You write really well!

Take care...

At 7:44 PM, Blogger LeiselB said...

John this spoke to me SOOO much and was so wonderfully written. I really enjoyed it. Thank you for writing. It has been quite a LONNNG time since anyone has been able to impart a word that actually made me nod and smile and feel grateful. You are indeed digging large, faithful ditches. Keep up the good work.

At 12:05 AM, Blogger Amrita said...

John your work has a lot of value. Remember Billy Graham was the only one saved at an evangelist 's meeting and he was discouraged thinking;just a little boy was saved after all my preaching. But look who Billy grew up to be.I am also digging ditches for my church. Only mercy drops are falling, but the showers will come.


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