Ninety-Nine 10/31/2023

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by Suzanne D. Williams

NOTHING FITS. Nothing seems to go in the right direction. I start only to delete and start again. Days like this, I wonder why I bother. It’s all in my head. I know that. There are things you learn as a writer. Words flow on some days and not so much on others. People’s opinions of it are like the waves of the sea. I can string sentences together and form paragraphs at the drop of a hat, but is God in them? This pulls me up short. Give me any three objects, and I’ll start a story. Maybe I’ll make you laugh. But what was learned from it? Romance? There’s something to be said for that. God writes romance. But not every day nor every moment is appropriate for it. Strength? I like to think you read this and find out, “Oh, she’s like me. She has those days, too.” Many of them. And nights where I toss and turn and can’t shut my head off. And mornings where I need a stiff cup of coffee (I don’t like coffee). And opportunities to give into depression, frustration, anger, and fear. (Brakes.) No, not fear. Though the opportunity comes, I refuse to give fear any place in me. I would rather walk through bullets and trust God than to be afraid. I have stared the enemy in the eye. I heard him say I wouldn’t make it. I kept going. In that moment, I found out what the God in me was capable of if I’d give Him first place. Everything. He has everything. There’s nothing of me left.  

I had this other thought on my mind today. No fear was one. Redemption was another. I was thinking of a pet from the past who kept going astray, and I asked myself, how many times was enough? How many times was too many to go get him again from the county shelter? The answer is, As many as it takes. If he ends up there 100, then I go 100. How many times was enough for Jesus to rescue me? The first time I was afraid, He was gentle and kind. The 100th time, He was gentle and kind. The 1,000th time I blew up in anger over that thing, He loved me anyway. The 1,000,000th time I worried about the news, the economy, the government, He still stood there, strong in my thinking, capable of all of it. Way back before stolen elections and woke culture and crazy politics, way back before anything in my life turned around backward, I had a vision. I saw Jesus sitting on Mt. Rushmore, dressed like a King. Since that day, I have had not one doubt of His redemption of the USA. He is King of Kings. He defeated death itself. On another occasion, He flooded my room with His love, so deep and wide, like an infinite ocean. It had no depth, no bottom; it had no shoreline. I’ve loved people ever since. I cannot tell you the number of times the Spirit has pointed someone out at the grocery store and said, “No one prays for them.” No prays for them, but Jesus died for me, and Jesus rescued me more than once from the most horrible places in my life, yet on time 99 for them, I called it quits. Yet I saw them, knew they were “messed up,” and that was as far as my compassion went. Nowhere at all.  

Jesus on Mt. Rushmore is Jesus in the trenches, digging through manure to fish people out. Jesus, King of Israel, is Jesus, King of Iran and Iraq and Syria. Jesus Lord of Lords is Jesus Lord of Lakeland, Jesus Lord of 100 Smith Street. He is both our fist-pumping on Sundays and our tears on Saturday night. And His salvation in us makes us like Him, as capable, as wise, as thoughtful, as gentle, as humble, as patient.  Our reaction should be His reaction. On that 100th time someone messes up, or on their 1,000th or 1,000,000th, our reaction should be love. When they’re in our face, spittle flying, we should see Jesus. We should be Jesus. Not weak and cowardly and bending under the weight of demonic pressure, in our personal lives, as a member of the church, or a Floridian, or an American. We stand strong for godly principles. We stand for truth and morality. But when wrong comes from someone, when they say the opposite of what’s in God’s Word, we fight the devil in them and not the person. Our battle isn’t against people, and that includes ourselves. God’s forgiveness is always extended, without any condemnation attached. We beat ourselves up. He does not. We beat each other up. We walk away and leave that one to swim out of their own mess. When Jesus’ redemption is neverending and the number of times He would dig us out when we call, infinite.

Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.  (40)  Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?  (41)  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.  (42)  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.  (43)  And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.  (44)  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:39-44)

“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” (John 20:19)

About the Author: 

Suzanne WilliamsSuzanne D. Williams, is a native Floridian, wife, mother, and photographer. She is the author of both nonfiction and fiction books. 

Facebook – suzannedwilliamsauthor 

Twitter – @SDWAuthor. 

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