For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life. But I trust in you, LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. -Psalm 31:13-15
We can’t choose our parents, but we can choose the ones who mentor us. Josiah chose David (who had chosen God) and things began to happen. The people tore down the altars for the Baal gods as Josiah directed. Josiah cut down the incense altars. He burned the bones of the priests and much more you learn as you read 2 Chron. 34:4-7. It would not be list on a public relations tour. But, then again, Josiah was not out to make friends but rather a statement to say he wasn’t teaching what his father taught.
He plainly states that what they had taught, he rejected. And he wasn’t finished. Four years later, at the age of twenty-six, he turned his attention to the temple. It was a shamble. The people had allowed it to fall into disrepair. But Josiah was determined. He was going to restore the temple. He had received the torch of duty. In his early reign, he resolved to serve the God of his ancestor David.
Could it be that God placed him on earth for that reason? Could it be that God has placed you on earth for the same? Maybe your past isn’t much to brag about. Maybe you’ve felt the pain of being turned away from you religion of childhood and became bitter with God and the church. Can you rise above the pain and find in the teachings that change is good and God loves your differences? Staying in the pain (by choice sometimes) we do not appreciate who we are in Gods’ heart and we surely can’t respect our self or others for their differences.
Do we prefer to let our soul be taken to a convalescent home for the heart. We maintain healthy bodies and sharp minds. But we retire our dreams. We sit in our rocking chair of comfort and regret and repeat all the terms of surrender. Pay close attention and you can hear them echoing in your heart:
“If only …” “If only I’d been treated fairly …” “If only I’d had kinder parents, more money, greater opportunities …” “If only I’d been taught by someone who cared or spanked less …”
Recognize those words. Have you used them on yourself? You may have ever right on earth to use them. Maybe you like Josiah, were hearing the “you’re out” before the game began. Can you find a mentor just Like Josiah did to imitate and learn from?
In John’s gospel, Jesus’ words: “Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit” (John 3:6). How about that! Spiritual life comes from the Spirit! Your parents may have given you genes, but God gives you grace. God has taken charge of your soul. You may get many of your traits from your parents but you get eternity from God, your heavenly Parent. In case you wonder, God is willing to give you what your family didn’t.
If you never had your parents wipe away your tears. Think how God has noted each tear. God knows how you have tossed through many nights. God has collected your tears and knows the pain of each one.
God does not leave you adrift on a sea of pain and rejection. Just like Josiah, you cannot control the way your parents and grandparents or the church of your parents responded to God. But you can control how you respond to Him. The past does not have to be your prison. You have a say in your life. You have a choice in the path you take. Choose well and someday – generations from now – your community, you family and most of all God will thank you for planting the seeds of love and acceptance.
God gives you grace to realize humanity is not always accepting but God is a God of love and acceptance. You were made by God for service to God. The past is gone and we have today to grow into the love that Christ died to give each of us. We were made in God’s image, like all people.
We are who we are because God created us and God doesn’t do mistakes. Be aware of who you are and love yourself and learn and grow in the Word and then seek to help others accept God’s grace and love as well. We need to work on our trust issues. God provides the love that teaches trust that will make our faith solid. Trust in God to find the faith for faith is trusting what our eyes cannot see. You may see in the mirror a promise-breaker, or less than successful person. But by faith you can see in the mirror a robed prodigal bearing the ring of grace on your finger and the kiss of God on your face. But you ask how can I trust?
This is the Word for you to know. “God’s power is very great for those who believe,” Paul taught. “That power is the same as the great strength God used to raise Christ from the dead” (Eph. 1:19-20).
Next time you wonder if God is there and you can truly trust God, read that verse. The very arms that defeated death are the arms awaiting you.
Rev. Suzie Chamness served as Senior Pastor of Spirit of Life MCC of New Port Richey, Fla., beginning in 2009, having been a Volunteer Clergy for the Congregational Care Ministry at King of Peace, St. Petersburg, Florida and worked as Chaplain at Bon Scours Maria Manor Care Facility also in St. Petersburg. She completed her Masters of Divinity at the Florida Center for Theological Studies in June 2006 and ordained in August of that year.