In addition to Habel’s Job, A Commentary, one other book created in me a desire to write, Job’s Illness: Loss, Grief, Integration–A Psychological Interpretation. Written by Jack Kahn, a Jewish psychiatrist (so he knows Hebrew), this book outlined Job’s process of recovery through the mid-section of the book. That’s where the story seems to bog down in endless debate. For 35 years of his practice in Great Britain, Kahn had been struck with how the stories of disaster he heard from his patients resembled that of Job with his disasters.
From those two books, I drew inspiration to create a practical biblical handbook for encouraging people through the worst times of their life. But both of those books are technical: Habel’s is a verse-by-verse commentary on Job; Kahn expounds on technical details of mental illness and psychoanalytic (Freudian) psychology, as he interprets Job’s story. They provided the content (Habel) and the pattern of recovery (Kahn), but somehow I needed to break their thoughts down so that ordinary people in tragedy could benefit from a portion of God’s work largely unknown or misunderstood. Job was written for ordinary people in distress.
But I also had a lot to learn about how to write. In fact, I had everything to learn. I therefore took two four-day mentoring experiences with Cecil Murphey, author of 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper), soon to be released as a motion picture. Although authoring over 130 books, Cec also dedicated himself to helping other writers. I benefitted greatly from his 1:1 guidance in a small group of aspiring authors. I also began attending writers conferences at Mount Hermon in California and the Oregon Christian Writers Coaching conferences locally.
After my agent, Les Stobbe, failed to interest traditional publishers in my work (first-time author=no name recognition; weak “platform”= no network to sell the book; consolidation of the publishing field=less margin for error (i.e., publishing a book that doesn’t sell), I decided to self-publish with Christian Writers Guild. After I completed their required 24 week course in non-fiction writing (the text written by Les Stobbe!), I submitted my manuscript for their edit. The author who mentored me during the course is now reading my whole book. I’m eager for her corrections, comments, changes, and improvements.
My 11-year journey on Job’s story is close to completion. I look forward to sharing with you when it it becomes available.
What has been your experience with the book of Job? Do you understand it? Do you find it tedious? When did you last read it through? What did you glean?
[Picture source: ca.wickipedia.org]