My Final Season Before Eternity
Now that I’m a senior adult, I am continually reminded how quickly the years go by. God has blessed me with a remarkable life. I’m not finished yet and will continue on this amazing journey until He speaks to me and says, “Come,” for the final time. I will be ready for that glorious moment.
The first time He called me as a young adult, He said, “Come unto Me, repent and receive Me into your heart. Love Me as I already love you.” That was a transforming moment in my life, especially because I wasn’t a bad person as the world would define “bad.” I worked hard at being “good” because I didn’t want God to “get me.” I was afraid of Him. I didn’t understand what it meant to have a relationship with a loving Father.
‘The Church Girl’ Finds Love … and a Real Relationship With Jesus
Something wonderful happened right before my 19th birthday. Four years prior, I had met a young man whom God put in my life to show me who He truly was. James was a teenager who didn’t come into this world under perfect circumstances. He wasn’t born into what we would define as a functional family with two parents who loved one another. He was given up from the time of his birth and put into the home of a pastor and his wife to be loved and taken care of until he was 5 years old. Then he was taken from that secure, loving place into a life of instability and insecurity for 10 years. God then brought him back to the family who had loved him the first five years of his life.
James and I were both 15 years old when we met and fell in love. Many people called it “puppy love.” The boy that I fell in love with became the one God placed in my life to draw me into a relationship with Him. The most unlikely person according to human standards was used as the instrument to show me what a real relationship with Jesus Christ looks like!
Will we just hang in there and wait until Jesus comes, or will we submit to the plan He has for us?
This young man had allowed God to change his life as a young teenager. Soon after, through God’s relentless pursuit of him, James was called into ministry. It was a shock not only to him, but to everyone who knew him, including me. God filled him with His Spirit and anointed him with boldness and covered him with His love. It was overwhelming to behold! I knew instantly it was God as I watched Him transform his life.
Such love and zeal for God’s Word and truth filled James’s heart. I watched as God immediately began to fulfill His purposes in and through him. It began to impact me as I saw the complete trust he had in God. At first, I didn’t know how or what to think or do about it. I was “the church girl,” as James later described me. I was the one who was supposed to have it all together and the true example of a sweet young lady who would never think of doing anything bad.
He Has Stayed Very Close to Me
God knew me better than I or anyone else knew me, though. He knew I would need to see Him through the life of someone else. I remember James sharing his heart with me one evening about the awesome relationship he had with the Lord.
As he talked about how he and God communicated with one another, it was so foreign to me. I didn’t know God in that very personal way and wanted an intimate and personal relationship with Him. Thankfully, I did come to know Jesus in that way and now have a lasting love and intimacy with Him that has sustained me through very difficult situations and challenges in my life.
God has truly turned heartache and loss into joy unspeakable when at times I didn’t see how that could ever happen. He has stayed very close to me even when I felt as if He left me and my broken heart. He allowed me to weep, to be angry and even to blame Him for my life being turned upside-down and even feeling like nothing would ever be the same because He didn’t do something to stop what was happening. I prayed, and it seemed to be of no avail.
I learned that healing doesn’t always come instantly. Saying goodbye to our beloved daughter Robin in 2012 is the most painful experience we’ve ever faced. God said He would never give us more than we can bear, but at that time, it sure seemed unbearable! God’s balm does bring healing, though. The death of a child is something a person doesn’t really “get over,” but God does help us walk through the valleys and, through it all, gives us “peace that passes all understanding.”
God Remains the Same Through the Seasons
Seasons come and seasons go, but God remains the same. He is constant and faithful. I can honestly say as I look at the seasons of my life — even with the challenges, trials and losses — that my different seasons have led to a closer and sweeter walk with the Lord.
God allowed me to be a mother, which, along with being a wife, was my greatest desire. I have three beautiful children and a wonderful husband. What more could I want? When God blessed us with each child, I have to believe He was excited, too, because He already knew what their future would hold and the impact each one of them would make for His kingdom! Our children continue to bless us, and now our 25 grandchildren and great-grandchildren fill our lives with joy.
I Still Long For God to Use Me in Ways I Cannot Even Dream
After 78 years on this earth, I still long for God to use me in ways I never would have dreamed of — to be an example of His sacrificial love. He gave His only Son, Jesus, because He loves us! It is sometimes hard to grasp or imagine — but we can see all throughout Scripture and history that His promises are true.
“Life goes on” is a familiar phrase. It is very important how we live our lives. Will we just hang in there and wait until Jesus comes, or will we submit to the plan He has for us? I personally want to stand strong for God and be the light He created me to be. As I have gotten older and, hopefully, wiser, I desire to be an example not only to my own family, but to all those I come in contact with.
One day after a dry season in my life, I turned in my Bible to Philippians chapter one and began to read. Immediately, I was taken to the time when Paul — writing from prison — encouraged believers to stand strong and live as citizens of heaven here on earth. That doesn’t mean we go and hide, but we walk in the power and presence of God. We live our lives as unto the Lord so that Christ will be exalted through us in all humility and love.
Whatever season you find yourself in today, know that all the challenges, failures and sorrows you have experienced can never outweigh the blessings from God. He will continue to love and forgive us. Let Him use you to fulfill His Kingdom Purpose!
Betty Robison cohosts LIFE Today with her husband James. The program reaches more than 300 million households in North America, Europe and Australia. Betty and James have been married for 59 years and have three children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Betty is also the author of the inspirational best-seller Free to be Me, and co-author of Living in Love.