“sequel” – a literary work that is complete in itself but continues the narrative of a preceding work; an event or circumstance following something.
I like to read sequels, live sequels, and write sequels. To me, a sequel is another word for MORE. MORE is a word of fulfillment, abundance, flourishing. I love everything about MORE; it reminds me of God as an Over Blesser. Since God keeps generously extending my life, I keep living and writing and publishing MORE of my spiritual autobiographical sequels. I'm expecting soon to publish the third book in my Trilogy titled “STILL MORE!” subtitled, “Flourishing on My Summit.” It is a sequel to a sequel to another sequel in my “Land of MORE” series. If you count my original autobiography, I guess this forthcoming book is the fourth sequel!
When I finish the final page of an exciting novel, I don't want it to end. I want to know more. What happened to the protagonist and the rest of the characters? A brief Epilogue of a few pages at the end of the novel is not enough for me. I like to read books in a series which carries forward the same characters and introduces more characters along with new plots and subplots.
My life, too, is a story and my years are the chapters. There was a beginning and there will be a conclusion, an earth-time finish—but not an end. I anticipate an eternal Epilogue which will be an endless Sequel as vast as the universe. In our humanity, we think in time and space sequences but God, Who is outside of time, stoops to our finite understanding of time and directs the sequels of our lives.
Thank God for sequels! When I was diagnosed with lung cancer and went through surgery twenty-four years ago, I faced the possibility that there might be no more earth-time sequels for me. No more productive, fruitful years to serve the Lord. But God planned for more sequels.
When my husband Ted died after forty-six years of marriage and parenting and ministry together, I faced the possibility that this might be the end of my ministry, my usefulness to God. But God planned for more sequels.
When I wrote my autobiography as a legacy for my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I tried hard to keep it to under 450 pages. There was so much to tell about the Lord's goodness and mercy. Although I tried to chronicle only major events of my long life, it was already more than an inch thick and the publisher warned that binding would be difficult! I thought that it was probably the final book I would write. But God planned for more sequels—and more published books.
As I have reached eighty-nine years and begin my ninetieth year, every day is the first day of the rest of my life. Could God possibly plan for still more sequel living? As I live the rest of my summit years, at what point in my climb I will arrive at the summit is up to Him and His destiny for my life. I just have to keep climbing....
I came across these challenging words somewhere:
“I will climb my mountain. They have told me it is too high, too far, too steep, too rocky, and too difficult. But it's my mountain and I will climb it. One day you will see me waving from the top...” It had a different ending which I don't even remember, but I chose my own ending with “...and joyfully shouting, 'We made it!' as I stand hand in hand with God ready to leave for the Grand Sequel.”
The Lord veils the upward road ahead in my summit years because He loves me. He knows that If I knew the rest of the way was going to be nothing but happy-happy, I might be too impatient to get on with it and miss some of the blessings He wants to give me if I trust His plans for me whatever the journey is like. If I knew in advance that the road ahead was going to be rougher and more difficult, or shorter or longer, I might be reluctant to go on, inclined to draw back.
But what if God reveals to us in advance something about His Heavenly Sequel after earth life? He does! But it is more than we can take in. “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). Without letting me know the details of what is ahead in the rest of the summit season of my life, He encourages me to trust Him and endure. He guarantees never to leave me or forsake me on my upward pilgrimage toward the final summit of earth life. He simply wants me to keep doing His will as He whispers it uniquely to me day by day and anticipate more of His goodness and mercy.
“For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised” (Hebrews 10 36). What did He promise? That I would “obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:4,5).
What a Heavenly Sequel to our earth life! We are destined to finally live in “real time,” by God's definition, in the eternal span of immortal existence! We will celebrate with joy in God's Presence as we meet many of the same characters we knew when we lived our life story on earth and multitudes more from ages past and from years to come!
(Excerpt from Leona's forthcoming book STILL MORE! FLOURISHING ON MY SUMMIT, Chapter 14, "Launching from my Summit")