Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Way it Is

Now remember, things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is. (from the Outlaw Josey Wales)

I love this quote from the movie, "The Outlaw Josey Wales".  It gets me every time, Clint Eastwood is such a great actor.  I believe it though, if you lose your head in the middle of your battle, you don't live or win.  You have to have faith to persevere.
Have faith to persevere! James 1:2-3
For those of you who have ever received an email from me, this is my signature.  There's a reason why I always sign my emails this way, some of you may have heard this story, but for those of you who haven't here it is:
I was going through the second custody battle for my two oldest daughters. Second because when they were only 4 and 2 years old their father won custody of them from me.  Seven long years of long distance mothering.  Now they had moved and their father had a girlfriend and a wife in Florida, and I felt this MIGHT be an opportunity for my girls to come to Arkansas to live for a while.  We took their dad to court and someone must have said, "Let the lies begin!" because that was all there was.  Do not be fooled, court is not a place for honesty and most of the time it is not a place for justice.  (I believe 1 Corinthians 6 says it best.)  The only place honesty and justice will occur is going to be at the feet of the Almighty God on judgement day.
So we were dealing with lies, eye witness accounts, child psychologist's reports, things we can prove and a lot of things we only "heard" about.  I was feeling very anxious and discouraged.  This was all compounded by the fact that I was terrified of my ex-husband.  We had a break while we were waiting for one of the witnesses to get off work.  So Santa took me to a mall to look around and kill some time.  I think he was worried about me.  It was such a crazy time, and I felt the need to ask Jesus to help me, show me, I don't know. . . give me something.

I remember we ended up in this Christian book store, and I picked up a book that had the days of the year printed on each page.  You know a little inspiration for every day.  So I thought, what the heck, I flipped to that day, May 8, in the book and read this excerpt:

"Because you have kept My command to persevere..." Revelation 3:10

Perseverance is more than endurance---more than simply holding on until the end. A saint's life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, "I can't take any more." Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly.  Entrust yourself to God's hands.  Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now?  Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith.  Proclaim as Job did, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15)

Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love.  And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him.  Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love.  Faith is the supreme effort of your life--throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.

God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture our all with total abandoned confidence on Him.  There are areas in our lives where that faith has not worked in us as yet--places still untouched by the life of God.  There are none of those places in Jesus Christ's life, and there are to be none in ours.  Jesus prayed, "This is eternal life, that they may know You . . ." (John 17:3).  The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering.  If we will take this view, life will become one great romance--a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time.  God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power.    ~from Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost for His Highest"

Well, ladies and gentlemen, this made me let out a sigh of relief that everything was going to be okay.

You may be thinking, "Wow what are the odds of her being in that Christian bookstore and reading that page on that day."  Probably astronomical, right?  Wrong!  I'll tell you the odds were 100% chance that I would be right there reading that exact page, because God planned it that way.  You may also be thinking that this is when Lollipop and Tootsie Pop came to live with Santa and I, (I did too) and there you would be wrong too.  It would still be two more years before my girls would come to Arkansas, the stretching and straining of this little imperfect soul was not over yet.  God still needed me to be obedient to His voice.  There were some things that He was still moving around in my life before these girls were to come to stay with us.

You may also be thinking how did James 1:2-3 get into that signature. . .  well, Revelation doesn't speak to me the way it used to, not like James does.  As you may know, this is James 1:2-4
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. James 1:2-4
Whatever your "battle" is at this point in your life, it's not worth losing your head over, take it to Jesus (and leave it there), He's preparing you for His purpose.
There are no "happily ever afters", there's only the happiest of there-afters in heaven with Jesus Christ.  So don't look for a happy ending here . . . it ain't happening, and that's just the way it is.  


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