Wednesday, February 16, 2011

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - Forever After

Locked in her room, Cinderella sits on her knees, one hand on the door knob the other in her lap. She's feeling as though all is lost. Just outside the door are two mice carrying a key up several flights of stairs. As Jock and Gus make their way up the stairs carrying the heavy and awkwardly large key, Lady Tremaine and her two daughters try on a tiny glass slipper. Each sister was doing everything possible to get that shoe to fit.

Finally the two tiny mice make it to the door and just as they slip the key under the door, Lucifer the cat grabs Gus, along with the key and hides him under a cup. The mice and birds begin to try and distract the mean cat, but nothing seems to work. His focus is keeping Gus from escaping. The tension in the scene grows as the two sister's finish trying on shoes and it is time for the men to move on to the next house. Finally, some breakthrough when Cinderella remembers the dog Bruno is the only one who the cat will run from. As Bruno chases Lucifer away, Cinderella unlocks the door and runs after the men asking if she could try the shoe on. Just as she sits down, Lady Tremaine trips the clumsy footman and the glass slipper flies in the air and shatters in a million pieces. For a moment, it seems that all is lost. Then out of her pocket, Cinderella pulls out the matching shoe. And so the story concludes with, "And they lived happily ever after."

Much of the events lately in my life seem to resemble the stress in this last portion of the movie, Cinderella. It seems we just miss breakthrough by a margin. Rather than moving closer to a conclusion, it would seem the farther away from a solution and deeper into the hole we get.

This past week in Psalms I read chapter 32. Verses 6 and 7 says this, "Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.
7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." How many times have you found yourself in a place that it seemed the mighty waters of life were over your head and you barely had enough in you to come up for air. I know this feeling all to well. All you can do is to hang on to the life preserver of "promise" that God will rescue you.

The other morning I woke up thinking of some people that must have surely felt this way. Joseph, had found himself in prison. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, had found themselves in a firey furnace. And Daniel, had found himself in the lions den. All these men had "done the right thing" and yet God had allowed them to be put in positions that seemed hopeless. I'm sure they had moments that they wondered how in the world did they get there. God actually made them "go through" rather than deliver them before hand.

After thinking about this for a moment, I began to think about what Jesus did. Jesus was perfect and did nothing wrong, yet he had to "go through" with his death on the cross. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus tells Peter, James and John, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." (Matthew 26:37 & 38). As Jesus prayed, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." (Matthew 26:39)

If you have seen the movie "The Passion of the Christ" we know what Jesus had to endure. God did not choose to let that cup pass, but rather he had to "go through".
Because of this unselfish act, not only did he conquer his own death, but he conquered death for all of mankind. John 3:16 says it all, "For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him will have everlasting life."

There are many stories of young maidens who are held captive by some evil step mother or queen. They did not do anything wrong, but found themselves being blamed for the other person's sin. In those stories there is always a prince who is willing to fight for her life to the point he is willing to die himself so that he may prove his love for her.

Our lives are written much like these stories. Sometimes we are held captive by others sin. What I mean by that, what others impose on us without our consent. That is what Jesus did for us. We imposed our sin on him, but he was willing to endure the cross because of his love for us. He was willing to give his life for us. In return we are then protected from any affliction the enemy would try to impose on us. Psalm 34:18 says, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, BUT the Lord delivers him out of them all."

As I think back on Joseph, Daniel, and the three Hebrew children, they may have had to "go through" it, but they were set free to the point that Shadrach, Meshach and Abenego did not even smell like smoke and Daniel did not have one scratch when he came out of the den of lions (Daniel 3:27 & 6:23). We can make it through whatever difficulty we find ourselves in. We are victorious in every situation because Jesus rescued us 2000 years ago so that we will live with him not only happily ever after, but forever after.