I’d always wanted to be a writer. The first story I made up was an illustrated comic when I was about nine years old. My favourite book as a child was a science fiction novel by Andre Norton and I loved it to bits. I kept returning to the town library, only to take it out again and again. I’d read it and reread it, hoping the ending had changed—and making up various alternatives in my mind. This whetted my appetite to write my own stories.

I took writing courses and joined groups of aspiring authors. I worked hard only to get rejection after rejection. Once I even gave up writing entirely, thinking that perhaps it wasn’t what God had called me to do after all. A year after I did this, nothing had filled the time I’d given up, so I concluded it really was what God wanted me to do.

Rejection followed rejection, though. I didn’t realise what my problem was until one day, right after another rejection, I was chatting to God and thanking Him for making me so stubborn and resilient. ‘Everyone,’ I told him, ‘praises me for the way I pick myself up after disappointment and try again. So I want to thank You for helping me bounce back.’

I swear at that moment I heard heaven laugh. So I said, ‘What? What’s so funny?’

And He said, ‘You resilient? You bounce back?’

And I said, ‘Everyone says so … What do You think?’

And He said, ‘When you’re disappointed, you make a cup of coffee, sit down and brood for a while. And then you find something to distract you, maybe a book. And then, some time later when the disappointment fades—and that’s anything from a few days to several months—you try again.’

‘Yes.’ That described my behaviour perfectly. ‘And what’s wrong with that?’ I was thinking to myself: I’m not doing drugs or getting smashed on alcohol.

‘You don’t come to Me first,’ God said. ‘You go to a cup of coffee. You don’t ever ask Me what went wrong or why your prayers weren’t answered.’

I suddenly realised that my ever-present help in time of trouble wasn’t God. I repented. I told God that, with His help, I would seek Him first instead of coffee. And next time I was disappointed, I ran straight to God and said, ‘Here I am. What went wrong? Aren’t You proud of me for coming to You first?’

Ok, that revealed I still had some spiritual pride to overcome. But I loved God’s answer. He said to me: ‘Let’s discuss what went wrong … over coffee.’

Some false refuges are outright sin. Some are only sin because they are taking God’s place in our lives. The good gifts of God have substituted for the Giver as our safe sanctuary and strong tower. And the error is so subtle, we hardly ever realise it.

This is Grace Drops and I’m Anne Hamilton. May Jesus reveal your subtle substitutes for Him today.

Thank you to Lorna Skinner of www.riversofmusic.co.uk for the background music.

Hidden in the Cleft:
True and False Refuge

Understanding false refuges is the single most important step towards dealing with the obstacles barring you from coming into your calling. Hidden in the Cleft explains false refuges in more detail and is available as a paperback or an ebook.