Who Am I?
By Billie Marie Zal
The forest is quiet with the winter nothingness of sounds. Trees stand bare against the sky. Once in awhile a muted birdsong caresses a breeze. The pond lies still and green beneath a cover of algae. And I rejoice!
The God who made this forest, and birdsong, and trees that can sing, and green water, also made me.
I am reminded of the Word, “Who is man that thou art mindful of him?” And who am I? A little creature in the huge swirl of creation, living out endless days and waiting for what? For SOMETHING!
If only I could tell. But who can tell? Where was I when my Father measured out the heavens and set the stars in place? Or when He held the waters in the hollow of His hand, and set limits to the ocean’s boundaries, that they might go so far and no farther?
Or where was I when He made the wildflowers, and the creatures that live in the snowy Artic, as well as the fiery jungles of Africa?
I was nowhere. But I was somewhere. I was in the heart and the mind of God. I was planned, and with one breath He drew me out of many waters and gave me entrance into a world that has all but forsaken Him.
Are there others? Probably, I do not know. But it is worth it all even now, in the midst of trouble. It is worth it all when I see one bright star hanging over our mountain on a dark, wintry night. And when the pines murmur as the winds roar through. It is worth it all when I look into the yellow eyes of my wolf and sense that yes, he is displaying all of the habits of wolves even though confined away from all that he deserves - a great forest to run in, ponds to splash in, and the thrill of a hunt and kill. God made him a wolf. He will never be anything else.
I can learn from him. I was created to be holy, righteous, kind, loving, and filled with joy. And I must display those characteristics or I will deny the very One who indwells me and makes me like Himself.
Why must it be so hard to be what He created me to be? I think on that, and then the answer comes. It is because as a human I have a will that can choose. I do not, like my wolf, act from instinct, but from choice of will. I choose to love or to hate, to give or to get, to lie or be truthful. And that makes me like no other creature on earth, save other humans.
This then is the glory of God: TO CHOOSE TO OBEY.
Now I know who I am.
- from the January, 1992 Wingspread
I love this piece that Billie wrote. What a wonderful gift she had with words. And it’s so true, we are not animals following our instincts. We have been given the right to choose our own path in life. We have a free will. God was looking for a people that would, with their own free choice, love and trust Him.
It takes faith to trust a God we cannot see or feel. Personally, the Bible, God’s inspired Word, has always been enough for me, except I haven’t always applied it to my circumstances, which only brought rebellion and anger. Once we do apply His Word to everything that happens there is no longer any reason to fight the system or blame our childhood, relatives, circumstances, etc., because God allowed it all.
A couple of weeks ago when it was very cold outside a huge flock of Starlings landed on our property. They were just stopping over on their way up north where they spend the summer. They filled the forest with their chatter and took over the yard for a few days. I love to see them because it is a sign of spring. We put out sunflower seeds and corn all over the ground. They have a cocky way of walking, kind of like they own the place. Their blue green heads bob up and down. The rest of their bodies are a shining black. I had never seen this before, but one of the birds was white.
As I watched them from the window I wondered, would that one be treated differently? Would he belong and be part of the flock? Not once did I see a sign that the others even noticed the difference. I wish we could all be like that. And we could be, if we did not think we were better, in some way, than the other person.
This morning I read from Proverbs 6: 16-19, and it is a Word for all of us: “These six things doth the Lord hate; yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Notice how many crimes or sins are not mentioned here. The sins we think are the worst are not here. I was surprised to hear how much judging goes on in prison. Everyone is locked up, but some are considered lower than dirt. Let God sort it all out, as He will in the end.
Dr. Scott taught me something very important. Sin is falling short of the glory of God, period! Not the sweetest little grandma or most faithful church going person will in any way measure up to God. I don’t believe most Christians really believe that thinking - the thought is the same in God’s eyes as doing the deed. But Jesus said as much in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew Chapter 5.
Christianity is a new life, the Holy Spirit giving new life, making all things new. We can not improve on our flesh, which is what most people try to do, trying in their own strength to correct and clean up their old life. It will end in failure. We cannot measure up to God. We will fall short every time. But “He waits that He may be gracious.” Isaiah 30:18.
A little news from our mountain: Spring is certainly on the way and we all look forward to warmer weather and all that goes along with it. Rodney and Walnut planted a lot of new pine trees. Jay helped haul a bunch of trash to the dump. And they cut some unwanted trees and brush and now we have a start on the firewood for next year.
Brian and Gail have a gift for organizing and getting things done. We had an empty building we called the “Autumn house” that used to house dogs years ago. They decided to make a exercise room out of it. So with some paint and new carpet, and a few pieces of exercise equipment, its really become a lovely room. We are all enjoying the benefit of having a place to work out in.
Ed and Shirley see to it that the deer get their corn, and in the early dusk of morning I see them coming out of the woods, mostly females and their young. I have tried to get pictures but its not easy. They have such good hearing and reflexes.
Rodney and I visited death row at McAlester a couple of weeks ago. I wish we could visit more places, but time and money simply does not allow for it. I’m always amazed at the victorious attitude of these men, but I shouldn’t be. The same God who was with Paul when he sang hymns in the dungeons of Rome is also there at McAlester death row.
Please continue to keep us in your prayers, and I thank all of you who showed such concern about my eyes. Last week the pressure was down and I’m doing fine. Glaucoma can be treated but not cured, so its an ongoing problem. God is faithful and full of mercy. He will keep us all well, but always His will should be considered and no one lives forever here on earth.
So I’ll end with the wisdom of Solomon: “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride, and arrogance, and the evil way, and the perverse mouth, do I hate.” Proverbs 8:13.
“The grace of God does not corrupt His own justice.”
Our new exercise room
Bruno watching the birds
Prayer Requests for March, 2007
For Willie Scott at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, who has prostate cancer.
For Willie Harper, his family, and for his close friend Ella, for their health. Willie is at Menard, Illinois.
For Robin Harris, Cushing, Oklahoma, for favor with the parole board next month.
For Robert Heffernan at Brickeys, Arkansas, that he is able to walk on his own soon.
For Jimmy Huff, Loraine, Texas, for his health and for his ministry.
For Ted Ricks, McAlester, Oklahoma, for a transfer to Joseph Harp.
For Leon Wright, Hominy, Oklahoma, for his health, and for a transfer to lower security.
For Sister Ann and all the Carmelite Nuns in Little Rock.
For Pastor Melissa Scott in Los Angeles, California.
For Raymond “Peanut” Sanders, Iowa Park, Texas, who has high blood pressure and a high cholesterol count.
For Willie Clark at Abilene, Texas, that he will be transferred closer to Houston to be near his family.
For all of us at Wingspread.
“He was better to me than all my hopes.
Better than all my fears.
He made a bridge of my broken works,
And a rainbow of my tears.
Oh, tender and true was the Chastening sore,
In wisdom that taught and tried.
Till the soul that He sought was trusting in Him,
And nothing on earth beside.”
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