A Lifetime of God Moments

Dear Readers,

I’m delighted to bring you this guest post from my first literary agent (and the man who “brought me up” in the Christian writing world), Les Stobbe. It’s an excerpt from his newly released book, God Moments in My Publishing Life. Les has taught me in the business of writing and books to value what matters in God’s economy and the eternal impact of our words over sales and royalty checks. Even if you’re not a writer, you’ll find inspiration from Les as he recounts all the powerful moments his life was deeply impacted by God’s work.

It is one of my favorite past-times to listen to the stories of men and women who have followed God for a lifetime and are as passionate about Jesus in their eighties and nineties as they were in their youth. By God’s grace, I hope to join their ranks one day soon. Enjoy Les’s post and check out his book. I’ll be back next week. Mercy and grace, Lori

What may seem like a disastrous circumstance may only be a stepping-stone to a new opportunity.

Ever wish you knew the mind of our Lord? I have, not once, but many times, but God always had a plan “up his sleeve.” Let me introduce a few hopelessly negative situations that might trigger similar experiences in your life- but I’ll also show how God was at work behind the scenes.

Cross-eyed from age five to 12, I was often bullied, picked last by the team captain in any game. Instead of joining the neighborhood kids on a sports field I read books. It fed my mind and heart—while I was also building muscle clearing out cow dung, pitching hay, lifting 10-gallon milk cans. After my eyes were straightened out, a neighbor friend and I took over checking out books at the church library. I had no idea it was the beginning of God preparing me for running the selling floor of a bookstore with seven fulltime and three part-time staff.

As a twenty-two-year-old an errant rock in a ravine on a mountain split the femur part of my leg, which turned me into a hospital patient for four months. I had hours of reading time for books and magazines. I also had hours with Russian émigré nurses. Since my father’s family had migrated from the Caucasian Mountains in Russia we had a lot to talk about as they rubbed my back and made my bed.  First Nation’s patients introduced me to their language.

While on my back I was glancing at ads in Christian Life Magazine when the Lord introduced me to a possible new direction in my life.  On the upper right corner I saw an invitation to sign up for “The Beginning Christian Writer” correspondence course. The next summer I finished the seven lessons by writing about new arrivals in leadership on an island of fishermen. Ten years later I was hired as magazine editor at the publishing house with those lessons that turned my thoughts to writing. The next four years at Christian Life represented what I later recognized as an in-depth study of magazine and book publishing, since my primary responsibilities were as editor of Christian Bookseller Magazine. I wrote monthly articles on successful bookstore owners, on new publishing ventures, on bestselling authors.

But Robert Walker, president and editor of Christian Life Publications, taught me more than how to be a more effective writer and magazine publisher. He introduced me to prayer that claimed the victories of Christ over Satan and his angels. When it was obvious Satan was attacking our family, I began to engage in spiritual warfare praying that claimed the victory over Satan of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection. Satan is not God, so his demons ran when Jesus said, “Come out” of the demon-possessed man. I also recognized that many issues I faced were caused either by sin or running ahead of the Lord.

This insight was buttressed by a book manuscript I evaluated for Kenneth N. Taylor. The author introduced me to specific, targeted praying for needs developing in our life as a family. When we needed a car to travel the Chicago streets to a church I served as temporary pastor I simply told the Lord about it—and he put our need on the mind of the husband of a church member, who supplied me with the money to acquire a car. A couple of years later I realized my wife and children needed new clothes, so with Christmas approaching I told the Lord about it—and our pastor told a generous family about it and they outfitted us most generously.

These experiences emboldened me when the following year we needed to move out to Wheaton with Christian Life Publications. With no rentals available there, I asked the Lord for the down payment for a modest ranch—and he provided an editing opportunity that supplied the needed income over six months.

Armed with these experiences I prayed my way through job change after job change until I was equipped to become a literary agent, for 25 years serving Christian writers, often mentoring them one-on-one at writers conferences. God had turned so many seeming catastrophes into spiritual and workplace victories that I often became more spiritual counselor than agent.

What would you do with 65 years of such life experiences?

God one morning gave me the theme, God Moments in My Publishing Life. I wrote one chapter a week and our granddaughter, who had become my webmaster, put them up on my website. Five years later God made it clear he wanted it in print. I added the guts of what I’ve been teaching on communicating for life change as a Christian writer.

What about you? Do you have a story about a God Moment in your life? Share it in the comments or email me the story at lorisroel@gmail.com and maybe you’ll see it here on the blog soon!

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    The Conversation

  1. Barbara Latta says:

    I love hearing about Les’s road to the publishing world. We can see how all those experiences shaped his future and the future of writers he would someday meet. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Melissa Henderson says:

    I’m looking forward to reading this book. 🙂

  3. Carla Femat says:

    Loved this. I want to have that faith! I’m learning about what we speak and declare is important ; we have to speak and believe His promises and truths! To read this helps me realize how dependent God wants us on Him! Nothing is too small or big! Thanks Lori for sharing.

  4. Leigh DeLozier says:

    Thank you for sharing this! We were honored to have Les as a faculty member at a conference our writing group hosted years ago. To have him spend the time with us and to learn from him in such a small setting was amazing. I look forward to reading his book.