Not For Cream Puffs

Covered Wagon-Ox Team--PhotobucketNow may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

Sometimes weekends just don’t turn out as you expect. God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, occasionally drops a bombshell in your general vicinity and jerks the slack out of your rope, leaving you dangling desperately over the edge of a cliff searching for a toehold.

I was blessed with an e-mail on Saturday from a fellow blogger about a recent decision I had made. He paid me what I considered to be a compliment of the highest order with a description that still has me laughing. Here is what he said:

Like Charles tells you, “Susan, we’re gonna blow this pop stand and head west in this here covered wagon with all our stuff and I need you to help me out with a few things, you know, like crossing the Great Divide and fighting Indians and stuff and taking care of the kid and some other work, and ride shotgun, fight blizzards… Think you can handle it?”

And Susan says, “Hey no problem cream puff. Is that all you got? I’ll have my work done before sun-up. Wake me when it gets interesting okay?

Knowing that for the first two-thirds of my almost sixty years, I have been afraid of my shadow (and everyone else’s), having someone I respect write this, was a huge confidence builder. His example of a pioneering woman heading west, tickled me. This is the kind of woman I always hoped I could become.

There are those who believe that all fear is based in the fear of death and dying. Even Christians with hope of Heaven have this fear and I was no different. I wasn’t afraid of the end result; mostly afraid of the process itself. Having spent my entire nursing career watching people die, sometimes by inches, it was the process and pain of dying which terrified me.

Well, at least it did until Charles died. He certainly wasn’t the first person I saw die and he likely won’t be the last. It would probably surprise no one that in the months since Charles has been gone, there have been moments when death seemed preferable to continuing life: the pain, the practical challenges and logistics, the work of holding on to faith and hope, often proved exhausting.

Yesterday morning, I was contemplating an article my daughter, Hannah, had posted on Facebook about determining the call of God on your life. I pretty much know what God’s call on my life is. It hasn’t changed any since Charles died, I just haven’t been able to figure out how to continue to walk in it without him since he was an integral part of that call.

So, I am sitting in the quiet of my corporate apartment in St. Louis, thinking about that call when God said to me: “You aren’t afraid of dying. . . you’re afraid of living.”

Well, thank you very much, Sir!

Of course, this isn’t an entirely new concept. Fear has kept me from doing a great many things over the years. It would seem that God is trying to tell me this no longer cuts it as an excuse (never really did though, did it?).

The 100% “sold-out-to-Jesus” Christian life, isn’t for cream puffs. If we are whole-heartedly committed to walking into, and completing, the call of God on our lives, we can’t let fear dictate our decisions or our actions. We don’t decide the call on our lives anymore than we are required to complete it in our own strength. God’s grace is the rebar and concrete in our foundation. What He builds will stand, even if we stumble in the process. Or, as I said to one friend recently: even when life throws us a curve ball, we know God is holding the catcher’s mitt.

So, while I have come a long way, it would seem I have a ways yet to go.

Westward, ho!


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