They worked as night-fill staff stacking supermarket shelves, and as commercial cleaners. In addition she had a weekend job as a caregiver for five intellectually disabled people. The work involved a sleepover, which was where she was now.
Sleep eluded her, even as she tried to quiet her mind. Still awake an hour later, she sighed and crept into the Kingdom looking for the King. She needed to speak with Him about an issue she was wrestling with; inheritance. The King had spoken to her of inheritance, and now the church had declared 2007 as the year of inheritance – with promises fulfilled, victories obtained, answers received, influence granted, mantles taken up, and vision birthed. They talked about it at the King’s gathering every week.
What did it mean? Why did the King want her in business? What about her brother’s inheritance? He never got a chance.
Her brother was still at the age of 21. She remembered her father saying he would never grow old. In her mind, he looked more like her son with every year that passed. She was still carting his belongings with her, even after going through two countries and eight changes of address.
They had started out on the road to the Kingdom together, but he had been taken away by death, causing the grieving Princess to leave the road rather than travel alone.
She went to the King with a request. “Last year when we found Anna’s grave you told me that your promises weren’t buried with her, and you wanted me to seek your blessing. Is it really the year of inheritance?”
The King nodded, and she continued; “I have something to ask. Is it possible for me to receive a double portion of the inheritance, so when I stand before you, I can give my brother half? Only, it is not in your word.”
Searching his face, she asked the King. “Father, is it possible? Can I run for him too? Can it be done?”
The King answered her question by taking her to a place in the Kingdom she had never been before. She found herself on a dark field, lit up by a light. A hand reached out of the light with a baton, as a foreign voice implored her to believe and reach for the inheritance. She knew the hand and voice belonged to Anna. The arc of light showed a race track, where the roar of voices from the grandstands could be heard.
The dragon sneered, saying “You have a big imagination. It is written that the dead know not anything.”
He was absolutely right. Holding back from taking the baton, she went to the King; “I believe your promises did not die with them. If it is a relay then I do want to run, and take whatever you promised to the finish. Most of all I want to run this leg of the race for my brother, but I need to know it is your will. I cannot find it in your word. Father, you are just going to have to tell me, and please make it loud and clear”. Bidding the King goodnight at last she fell asleep.
Later that morning, she gathered before the King with the other believers. Rachel, one of the Pastors, was preaching that morning, and had a plunger in her hands.
Waving it around with a cheeky grin she said, “This is really the end of our drain plunger, but for the purposes of this morning, this is a relay baton! I am going to talk about inheritance in terms of receiving the baton and running the race….”
“Are you serious?” the dumbfounded princess asked, eyes fixed on the drain plunger.
“Yes. Is it loud and clear enough?” he replied smiling.
Rachel spoke of those that had gone before, the settler women, and the price they had paid to come to this country; “These women left their homes, left the comfort of all they knew, of an established and civil society, to go with their husbands into the New Zealand bush. They lived in extreme hardship, poverty and isolation. I could see their faces, and I could see a baton in their hands.”
Anna came into view, holding the baton.
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:13-16.
Opening up the Kings word, Rachel taught from Hebrews 11 about the race, and about faith. “This is our day, this is our hour. If we just say we’re going to remember what a great work they did and make a monument to them, we’re not fulfilling biblical inheritance – because we should be advancing the Kingdom of God unlike any day that’s even been seen by this nation.”
“Look at the team we are running with; “they through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”
“They didn’t receive what was promised;” “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for them so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:33, 35, and Hebrews 11:39
“Do you know what this means?” she asked. “Whether they receive their prize is dependent on us. They are dependent on us! The individual runners do not win the prize for their leg of the race, it is dependent on the last runner – and only then does the whole team receive the prize. No pressure!” she laughed; “and they are watching us in the grandstands of heaven.”
She continued “This is a different leg of the relay. We are born for such a time as this. We need the Isaachar anointing, to understand the days we are living in. The sons of Isaachar discerned the times, and knew what to do. We are part of the generation who will run the last leg of the race. The best runner is saved for the last leg, and the enemy knows this. He also has saved his best for the last leg, and there will be an increase of wickedness. The dark is getting darker. The King has saved His best wine for last. This is symbolic of our generation. We need to train.”
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“The prosperity gospel will get us off track” Rachel warned. “We could even end up running on the wrong team. This preoccupation of self is not producing the spiritual muscle. We have to harden up, learn to say no, learn to resist. It is to the detriment of our spirit. That would not have washed with the generations that had gone before.”
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
Afterwards, the princess ran into the Kingdom, all doubt gone. Opening the gate, she headed straight for the racetrack, and bowed to the waiting King. “I am here. I will run. Let me keep the faith and finish the race.”
The King led her to the race her great-great Grandmother had run, to finish the leg her brother had started. The track had the number five on it. Anna appeared in her vision, again holding the baton. Joanna accepted the baton. “Father, you are loyal.”
Smiling happily at the King, she said, “I have it on faith that this is a baton. I would not like to think I’m going to be running this leg of the race with a drain plunger!”
“It will be whatever I give you” the King smiled back. She looked to see what He had given her, expecting to see the staff. She was surprised to see she carried a pen. “How can I advance the Kingdom of God?” she asked.
And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tablets, so he may run that reads it. Habakkuk 2:2
Within a decade the tablets appeared and she knew what she had to do. Finishing the story, she proffered it to the King and bowed low. “Lord, you promised you would use this story to speak to others. I am your servant. I hope the story is of use to you. May it help the reader avoid some of my pitfalls I encountered, find the others who are on the road, and run the race you have marked out for them.”
I pray that the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened, in order that we may know the hope to which you have called us, the riches of your glorious inheritance in your holy people, and your incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:19