Friday, September 14, 2012

The Day It Hit Me.

I have not always been... well... the most optimistic of people.

In fact, at some points in my life, I measured it by the times between storms.
Like, things would be going well for a little while, so like a sailor looks to the sky to see how the sea will fare the next day, I was waiting for the next thing to fall apart.

I used to define myself as a man of great endurance.  A lot has happened to me in and around my life.  I could sit here and cite a list of events and tragedies that all were terrible things.
I used to say that I have seen more by age 10 than some people see in their who lives, and that is true.

I remember a time in particular when I was a kid living in New Mexico. My parents had grounded me and I wasn't allowed to go play with my friends. Well, my parents weren't home so I saw that as a perfect opportunity to sneak out my window and go play. This plan was flawless until my brother was driving home from his job as a security officer and knew what was going on. He rolled down his window and told me to go home. I ignored him. HE parked his car, and got out, grabbed me, threw me over his shoulder and took me home. He asked me if I was going to comply and I am pretty sure I made some smart alec remark, because I've had a mouth since I was born. My brother shut the door to my room, and I crept right back out that window. I was out playing for a solid ten minutes before my brother came and found me and threw me over his shoulder and dragged me back home. " I can do this all day " I told him. That was when he put me in a sleeper hold and knocked me out.

Fast forward several years. It's Thanksgiving day and my brother and I are joking around in the living room. Well, joking turns to action and we began to wrestle. Now, He had studied martial arts and was a wrestler in highschool. I had just fought kids on the playground and in the halls in school. IT sounds like the clashing of Titans as we wrestle back and fourth. He finally gets me in the sleeper hold and he tells me

"tap out"

As he is choking me out, through guttural sounds I manage a gruff and loud, "No" . He laughs and reminds me that he has me. There is no getting out of this as he is making sure that I cannot get air. "Jay, you can't win... tap out. I won" In a captain Kirk-esk 'i don't believe in no win scenarios' I again growl out a defiant "Never". My peripheral vision is starting to go dark. I can see the black slowly fading in as I hear in the distance "STOP KILLING YOUR BROTHER AND COME EAT!!!"

One of the things that has stood out to others about me, is that I don't surrender on a lot of things. Some of that is plain old fashion stiff necked rebellion... but there is also another God given part to that.  There is something in me that sees certain things and I say, I am not going to break.

A man of great endurance.

That has been something that I have read about in places in the bible. I read about Peter enduring. I read about Joshua and David and there is a sense about them that has always stood out to me.
They endured hardships and what not.  Something about that spoke to me. Something about that, I identified with.

I was thinking about this, and my life long aspiration to punch a bear in the face...
I was thinking about this stuff and praying about it.

Then,  it hit me.

Endurance is only part of the call.

Endurance isn't the place where you stop. Some times it isn't enough that you're standing... It is how you are standing.  I'm talking about overcoming.

I'm not talking about surviving getting mauled by a proverbial bear. I am talking about standing there after you have kicked it in the groin and punched it in the throat.  Anyone can get mauled. Anyone can get tossed around by the waves during a storm. Surviving is good.
But I see more to it.

Stuff is going to fly at you. That is a promise. 
Stand stronger.
Stand firm with the Joy of salvation and the praise of God on your lips and say...

What is next.... Because with God, In Him... there is nothing that is going to stop me until everything fades to black.

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” - John 16

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?  This is the One who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth.- 1 john 5 

Yeah, we endure. We suffer together in life. We hurt in the world. Things do suck. But take heart people. Lift up your face.  Through Him, His sacrifice... We Will do more than endure the storm.. We'll get to that place where we rebuke it.

That is what I am hearing.
Don't just live half the plan.