1976. America celebrated its two hundredth birthday midway through the year. My husband and I married in September. Rocky, a low-budget film about a Philadelphia small-time boxer who gets a rare chance to fight heavyweight champion Apollo Creed, was released (against all box office odds) on November 21.
2016. Forty years later. While America was speeding up the process of deep change virtually every decade, Sylvester Stallone went on to write and star in the first six of the seven Rocky movies. My husband and I went from two and “I do” to five back to two to eight to nine, ten and eleven at the moment.
What do the three have in common? They’ve all gone to the mat and gotten back up again. More than once.
Each one has a story to tell. Stories woven from the fibers of victory, defeat and return to victory. With not one who knew then or knows now how the story will end. I can tell you, as a writer, when you begin to write – history, a movie script, or the life of a marriage and family – you don’t know what twists and turns the plot will take. Surmise if you will; stories write themselves. The narrative of which is largely dependent upon and governed by one’s responses to the unknown and the unexpected.
Unless you’re The Author. Then, nothing catches Him by surprise.
Half a dozen weeks or so ago, I wrote a two-part post entitled ‘The Difference a Day Makes‘ for Ishshah’s Story, a collaborative blog of four women writers from three different nations; I’m one. Occasional guest writers add their voice to the collaboration as well. In an unforeseen turn of events after I had published my two-part post drawn from the biblical story of Esther, I took down my two posts and accepted a challenge to research more deeply not Esther, but Vashti – the Persian queen who preceded Esther’s rise to the crown.
In what now seems to be a precursor to my emotional wave-swells on election night, I experienced a bit of a dress rehearsal during the exercise of looking deeper into Vashti’s story:
BEFORE – with a sense of what I wanted to convey and strengthened by the story’s theme, I began to write.
AFTER – with a sense of what I wanted to convey and strengthened by the story’s theme, I began to write.
What changed? What I ended up writing of the one whose life I was challenged to look at more deeply.
I gained a new appreciation for Vashti and the placement of her life in the outworking of Esther’s story. Vice versa too, folks. Esther’s placement also had an effect on Vashti’s story because of Esther’s God.
What didn’t change was the story’s theme and the sense of what I wanted to convey. The second time through, though, it is now both Esther’s and Vashti’s story. God is no respecter of persons.1
So what’s that got to do with America’s recent election of another male President-elect?
I’ve several thoughts. Whether they are prophetic or not, time will tell. After all, Time is the test.
- America’s heart has been divided. Some have desired a king and some a queen. I believe America is in the early stages of her ‘Esther’ being prepared. A corporate heart, not that of a single person.
- As for the breaking of glass ceilings for women I also believe America will yet have her ‘Vashti’. A female President who will win the election, due in part to the way-paving by Hillary Clinton.
- Should a woman occupy the Oval Office one day, it surely won’t catch the Lord by surprise, though it might some of His offspring. Others will be tempted to say, “I told you so!” Neither is a decidedly spiritual response. Faith isn’t caught by surprise, and Christ’s humility is all in which we will boast.2
The important thing is to know the Lord your God and to know Him well. In days to come, it’s not going to be enough to just know of Him. On the flip side,
… the people who know their God shall be strong and do great things (exploits).
As my husband sometimes tells his counseling clients, “There’s time, but there’s no time to waste.”
These are the days of redeeming the time.3
Cue the Rocky theme.
~ Gracefully Free
By the way, Rocky went more than a few rounds, didn’t he? 🙂
1 Acts 10:34
2 I Corinthians 1:31; II Corinthians 10:17-18; Galatians 6:14; Philippians 2:14-16
3 Ephesians 5:15-17; Colossians 4:5