Swallowed up by life


Are you prepared for greatness or prepared for life? Is there a difference? Yes, a big difference.

Successful people usually live a life of preparedness, trials and hard work. They roll up their sleeves and flex their earthly muscles and make it happen. But, what if life throws them a curveball?

I introduced a new book by Jerry Jenkins to our writer’s group. He takes the reader on a personal and inspiring journey about his writing career.

With the phenomenon of the “Left Behind” series, 65 million books were sold. People asked Jenkins, co-author, if he felt he was destined or chosen to write the series.

“Left Behind” was the 125th book he wrote. He answered their question, “Not destined, but prepared.”

He tells his story of how he loved baseball. He lived and breathed baseball and planned to play in the big leagues. His life was baseball. After two injuries, his days in baseball were over. Life swallowed up his dreams.

He said he turned one passion into another one. He knew he could write and he began to write what he knew, sports and reporting sports. He changed his goal as an athlete to become an editor for a newspaper.

From being a high school newspaper editor to writing for magazines at 15 years old, he continued to seize opportunities. He interviewed sports figures and wrote about them.

Jenkins committed his life to the Lord as a teenager, but veered away from God. It was when he sold out to God that things started to change and career breaks began to come his way.

His first break was interviewing Bob Richards, an Olympian and two-time gold medal winner in pole vault. He was known as the Parson and was the first athlete on the Wheaties cereal box. Jenkins wrote about Richards’ faith.

His next big break came when he was asked to interview Hank Aaron. That interview brought more high-profile sports figures his way.

He felt totally inadequate when the opportunity presented itself to write a book with Dr. Tim LaHaye. LaHaye was an American evangelical Christian minister, speaker and author. He wanted to write for a dual audience and have a crossover message for the general market. As a seasoned writer, Jenkins argued it couldn’t be done. A writer writes for one audience. He took a chance and agreed to write the “Left Behind” series and target two audiences.

The series sold more copies than all 124 books Jenkins had previously written.

“I was prepared.” His faith made him ready for success. Jenkins had learned, with a surrendered and pliable life, to move in God’s spirit by faith. He turned one passion into another and lead many into his Christian faith.

No one is exempt from life. We all have bruises to prove it. Life will swallow up our dreams and hopes. One curveball changed Jenkins’ direction. That change brought a life of full potential and success.

When I read a passage in Corinthians, a phrase, “Swallowed up by life,” settled deep into my spirit. I was mindful we live two lives, one in the flesh and the other one by faith. The one we live by sheer might and shrewdness, and it could bring success and greatness on this earth. But true success will take us to our final destination.

When someone leaves this life behind and their time on this earth is over, people say of them, “They are taken up in death.” If they are believers, the Bible says they are swallowed up by life, divine life.

Final brushstroke: It takes a lifetime to be prepared for those great moments on earth. But, as we live by faith, we are being prepared for a greater moment when we meet our maker. We who believe in Jesus will be swallowed up by His life and character, and will live in His greatness.

Readers’ comments

Send your comments to betty@bettyslade.com.

There are so many of our friends who are facing death and the next life. I felt burdened to encourage them that they do not need to be afraid of death. They will be swallowed up by life.