Adverb. 1528. Possibly but not certainly.
“Perhaps the Lord will be with me,” Caleb says in Joshua 14:12b. Which is it? Possibly, or not certainly? If He is not with Caleb disaster will surely reign. Caleb will be defeated, probably humiliated.
I entered a writing contest last month. I stumbled on it and I had just given my manuscript a read-through so I uploaded the doc and clicked submit before I could talk myself out of it. I’ve been scared to submit it to actual publishers. Scared of being rejected, criticized, and feeling foolish for trying. Of doing it too soon, before the work is ready. So, obviously it wasn’t ready for a contest either but I prayed really, really hard that “perhaps” God would cause the judges to like my work. I thought it was good enough to at least place.
Turns out it wasn’t.
The day they announced the top 30 I went to bed without an email from them to say congratulations. My confidence wavered to the point where I wondered why I even do this. Why do I think up these stories and ping away at the keyboard of my mini-HP for hours and hours and hours? It was confirmed that my work was not that good (I even found simple, stupid flaws in it when I looked at it again) and I despaired.
I thought, perhaps…perhaps the words I string together are only intended to be shared with Him. Perhaps all the hours writing have been in vain. Perhaps God does not wish for me success the way I have defined it. Perhaps in 5 years I will look back on this time of floundering creativity and laugh at what I once thought possible.
Perhaps paralyzed me.
But I studied more closely the Joshua 14 passage and I saw that Caleb was not shrinking nor wavering in confidence. He approached Joshua with boldness, recounting all the ways God had been faithful to him over the years. He had equal boldness in facing the still uncertain future. Excitement even, energy and enthusiasm for what he expected God to do–what he was confident God would surely do.
Perhaps his “perhaps” wasn’t a hesitating, self-defeating, doubt-filled request, but a proclamation of humble expectancy. Perhaps this is Caleb saying, “God is God and does not march to the tune of my fife. It is He who makes the winds blow until the grasses bend and break under the howling, invisible force of it. I am but a man who knows naught but what God has already done and what He promised so long ago.”
Can I say the same thing?
God has done so much for me and I know his promise is this:
Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
So maybe…what if…who knows? Perhaps He is with me. Perhaps He sees my efforts. Perhaps He is in this fight with me. This fight to be heard, to bring Him glory, to get better at my craft, to get my words out into the world so they would teach, edify, and uplift young readers who are barraged with words that tear Him down.
This is a fight that is so easy for Him to manipulate to His favor (it seems insurmountable to me but He is God after all). But how much would it please Him for me to go forth into the scary world of publishing, with everything I have, committing everything I do to Him? Trusting Him to help me when I cry out to Him for help, and patiently waiting for Him to act in His time, in His way? Perhaps He delights to surprise His people with what He can do. Perhaps “perhaps” is enough for me to venture my call on a God like this.
Perhaps the Lord is with me.