Where Will We Be When It's All Over
By Billie Marie Zal
     I saw the sweetest movie last night and I don’t even know the name of it. I couldn’t sleep and as I tried to find something decent to watch I was shocked (though I shouldn’t have been) to see that most of the TV commercials have sold out to the god of sex.
     For the life of me, I can’t see how a CAR could be called “sexy.” I don’t even know what they mean by calling a car sexy unless they have a perverted notion of what sex is. We have taken the idols of ungodliness and embraced them, and yes - the Church which is the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ has embraced these idols in “Christian broadcasting.”
     As far as religious broadcasting goes, it is just that: and religion is not evidence that we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is all in all, and if we have never been transformed by His indwelling Holy Spirit, all of the religion in the world will never save us, and win our Heavenly Father’s favor.
     But back to my discussion of the TV ads which, by the way, now take up at least half of every segment of programming. Once in a while, however, we do find something worth watching. Last night I couldn’t sleep and I used the remote to try to find SOMETHING that was decent. And I found a really good movie.
     The movie that I was watching was so inspiring that I lay awake long after it was over and thought through on the theme. The story revolved around a young girl of twelve who lived in a small town during World War II. Her innocence caused me to ponder on the difference between her and a twelve year old girl in today’s society.
     Her mother had died, and she and a little boy cousin who had been orphaned were supervised by their black friend who had been with them since birth. The real object of this movie was to present the confusion of a young girl who is entering her teens. She adored her older brother, a soldier who came home to get married, and she tried to be a part of that bond between her brother and his sweetheart. I felt myself remembering my own confusion, and how I wanted so much to be a “part of the whole.” No matter how rebellious a teen might act, beneath all of the veneer is a frightened soul.
     The movie ended finally with the little girl trying to run away when her brother left with his bride, and took no note of her desperate pleas for his attention. Of course she had nowhere to go, and finally as she sat in a saloon with her suitcase, her daddy found her (the police had called him to come and get her, they knew she needed her daddy).
     When he arrived, she was looking out of the window and there he stood in pouring rain, a look of pure love and acceptance on his face. I don’t know why, but I began to cry. I was remembering, perhaps, the many times that I wanted to run away even though I was blessed to have attended the same school during all twelve years. I had so many friends, but I felt as this little girl felt - I could never be part of a whole. We are all alone if we face this reality. That is the way life is.
     When my sister left home at a very early age, I faced a real emotional upheaval. Even though she was three years older than I was, at least she was HOME. And we were sisters. She taught me without realizing it how to play, how to dress, how to do the things big sisters do and little sisters copy.
     But once she was gone, I was alone and not a part of anything anymore. I was devastated and of course by now I had begun to date. Because I was so lonely, I had a “steady boy friend” whose dad had already given him a car, and every Friday and Saturday night, I knew I had something to look forward to. We went to movies, ate south Arkansas “Barbecue” sandwiches, and I felt safe and happy.
     Then my boy friend issued the ultimatum. Either I have sex with him or else.
     I chose the “Or Else” and now I was truly alone. I had all kinds of boy friends, we had all grown up together; but this was another reality I must face: either I give up my own morality or I am abandoned. So I was abandoned.
     But thankfully I survived, and went on to enjoy the life which God had given me. The world was a huge question mark in my mind. And I knew there was something more. Surely there was someone, somewhere with whom I could bond and belong “forever and ever.”
     Humans, being what we are, this never really worked. My mama who expected great things of me, was angry because I said all that I ever wanted was to get married, have a child, and “live happily ever after.” God had His hand on me, even then, and I had no great ambitions.
     I believe the scene in the movie where the little girl’s daddy came to her with open arms is the answer to the need of all of our hearts. And no one, not even our earthly, fathers, can give us that “eternal security” which the human heart so longs for.
     As for me, I longed for that eternal security from infancy. It was my task every day to take my daddy his lunch to the oil refinery across an open field. It did not matter that the blistering sand burned my feet, the joy of seeing him was worth it.
     It was one of my golden moments, knowing I would be permitted to climb the stairs of the “gasoline loading truck” where my daddy handled the task of getting the gas into the huge railroad cars. When I got to the top of the stairs, there he stood, heat waves shimmering around the blistering metal railroad car. He knew how much I adored him, and he would always reach out his arms to me and hug me.
     But one day, as I ran barefoot across that field, I heard a voice ask me, “Where will you be one hundred years from now?” I don’t know if it was an audible voice or not; I only know that it happened and these many years later, I can remember how I felt.
     An emotion of sheer panic gripped my heart. I would run back to our “company house” and ask Mama what it meant - where would I be in one hundred years. She would know, she knew everything.
     Mama was at the kitchen sink. I called out to her, “Mama tell me - where will I be in one hundred years?” She turned to me, wiped her hands on her apron and stood for a moment before she replied: “Billie Marie, I have no idea where you will be one hundred years from now.” Then she said, “you’d better get that lunch to your daddy.”
     I was emotionally exhausted. It was the first time I knew that Life was not “forever.” From that day on I treasured each hour, and life itself in every creature became so precious to me. I began to drag in half dead cats, dogs, anything that needed attention, and asked mama to “fix them up.” Life was a gift and if I had a chance to save one, I would do it.
     I have always lived, from that day until today, as though each moment counts. I won’t waste the life that is mine, and on that frigid, snowy night when I walked into Moody Bible Church and met the living God, I knew then where “I would be one hundred years from now.” I would be alive, and well, and a part of God, my Father’s great loving family. It was real. Life CAN last forever.
     When I was living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, so many years ago, I was ironing in the kitchen with all of my windows open. Although it was early February, Spring had made her appearance and the scent of Azaleas, Tung Nut Tree blossoms, great purple clusters of Wisteria blooms, and all of the Spring flowers filled my kitchen with Nature’s own Potpori. I was thinking of the wonders of our God and suddenly I heard the verse, “that ye may know that ye have eternal life. . .” I looked it up in my Bible and it is found in I John, 5:13. The Apostle John was telling me that I would not receive eternal life at a later date - when I died a physical death. I ALREADY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
     It was a moment of revelation which gave me my answer to the question God asked of me on the blistering, summer day as I ran to take my daddy his lunch. I would be with my Father in heaven forever. By faith, I was already there, and as Jesus told us, “And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. . .” (John 11:26).
     The truth has held me fast to the path which God has had me walk throughout my earthly life. No one else ever took my place and paid for my sins, and pardoned me except Jesus Christ. No on else ever made me clean and able to obey His Word which gives us that sense of “everything is going to be all right.” No one else loved me as the Son of God loves me, giving up His own life and shedding His precious blood, that I might be saved from the penalty, guilt, and power of sin. “Oh precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; no other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
     In an age where everything is literally falling apart - where people are lost in a sea of uncertainty, of technology, of bewildering circumstances which threatens our existence and our world, we need this “knowing.” Knowing who we are, and why we are here, and that God has a plan for every one of us who want to know that plan.
     We are beset daily with temptations, with filth, with the threat that life as we know it can come to an end at any moment. And the ONLY hope we can have is “that blessed hope” which saves us from the fears that could destroy us.
     Sharing this story is my way of assuring you that there is a “forever and ever” for us if we seek God with all of our hearts, and make that step into the reality of His eternity. I know now that it was unusual for a child of five to be given a revelation from God that Life counts. And He will certainly lead us to the assurance that if we are His, then we already have eternal life.
     {From the November, 2000 Wingspread}

The Bees

Margaret and I had a time “saving” some of the honey bees who visited my patio garden a few days ago. It had sprinkled a little and I guess some of the bees got too cold to navigate. I found them, all huddled together for warmth, in late evening. So I called Margaret and we got all of the “comatose” bees on to leaves and she lifted the top and we had an incident here of Margaret GOING TOPLESS. The guard bees got into her hair and she pulled her T-shirt off and ran for home! But the bees lived, all but two!!

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