Our society uses merit-based standards to judge whether someone or something is worthy of a title or role, such as a Grammy or Oscar award winner, military General, Nobel Laureate, pageant winner, etc. We consider income, status, accomplishments or the opinions of others to determine worth. We also place a great emphasis on self-esteem, which is defined as “a feeling that you are a good person who deserves to be treated with respect.”
But what does scripture say about worth and worthiness?
Relationships aren’t always easy. They require intentionality and work. Sometimes they are slow to grow and develop. To expect anything different is setting yourself up to be frustrated and disappointed. Relationships have highs and lows, ups and downs. Like our faith journey, our relationships are rarely, if ever, smooth and constant, often riddled with obstacles along the way.
I’ve been thinking about those Wise Men this Advent. Their trip to Bethlehem was probably not looked upon as “wise” at the time.
It’s not as though they could call Delta Airlines and make reservations for a flight from, say, Samarkand to Jerusalem for December the 24th. This would have been a long and arduous trip. I’m imagining their conversations with their wives before they left,
“So, Melchior, where exactly are you going?” Melchior’s wife Ann-chior peers at him as she stirs their lentil stew in a pot on the fire.
“Heading toward Jerusalem, Honey. But I couldn’t say for certain where we’ll end up.” Melchior grabs pita bread and stuffs it into a pack.
“So you don’t have a destination to put into your Garmin?” Ann-chior puzzles.
“Actually, we are following a star,” Melchior mutters.
“A star. I should have known. It’s always stars with you.” She rolls her eyes.
Make no mistake. I love Jesus and have always been very aware of my need for a Savior. But my story is a long and bumpy one, and I have baggage that steers me back to self. In the end my problem is sufficiency on myself instead of my Savior: to have the answers, to have the plan, to have the understanding, to have the capability…the list is long for me and my self-stuff. When God took hold of my heart on this issue, He showed me the difference between submission and surrender.
“My kids are at the age now where every good thing that happens for them is bittersweet,” I lamented to a friend recently. With three young adult/older teenage children, exciting opportunities abound: college acceptances, semesters abroad, internships in another city…you get the idea. Am I excited about the wonderful opportunities my children have? Of course! Am I a proud mama? You bet! I’m certainly not wishing they were unable or unwilling to do anything but sit on the couch with the remote. As parents, we work hard to help our children grow and mature. We strive to teach them what they need to know, be, and do to be independent; children leaving the nest (hopefully a little at a time) is the end game. Yet every flight away from the nest brings them farther from their Mom, and I don’t mean just geographically.
Recently our middle son confided in Sean and me that he is not entirely sure God exists. With all that is going wrong in the world, he doesn’t really “see God”. We talked about it a bit and we explained where we see God working, namely in the healing of Sean’s father (his grandfather), along with a few other life events. Here’s the thing: my middle son, Henry, has high function autism spectrum disorder. He sees black and white. He needs tangible proof and will question you until the cows come home. He is also darn smart so there is typically some practicality to his arguments.
My latest storm was, in fact, a hurricane. While Irma was pounding Caribbean islands, I, along with every Floridian, was running around making preparations. In the midst of buying bottled water and batteries, hurricane lamps and canned food, I struggled with fear of the unknown. Would we take a direct hit? Would a tornado spin off and damage our home? Would we lose power? There was no way to know.
Somehow the gardening gene seems to have escaped my genetic code. The most prevalent things in my flower beds are usually weeds. I have planted some lovely perennials, and sometimes they actually bloom. I can water and feed the plants, and pull weeds until my hands ache and my fingers crack, but with every rainfall the weeds are right back, taller and more abundant than the week before. They have no vision for the beauty the garden could offer. They follow no plan, but take root in the smallest sidewalk cracks and take over any tiny spot of soil they can find.
Having worked as an obstetrician-gynecologist in my past, I marveled at every birth. To think this new creature, so sophisticated and complex, could arise from two very simple cells that came together and started differentiating into a marvelous being just boggles my mind. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have enough faith in happenstance to believe this could occur purely by chance.
Do you long for a season of intimacy with the Lord either again or for the first time? Do you wonder what that even means? Join Holly, Alysa, Erin, and Nicole as we talk about times of intimacy with the Lord where we feel “on fire”. Then we delve into 1 Peter 1:6-7 and discover what it teaches about God’s refining fire. “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”