Friday, March 25, 2011

What Might Have Been

Judges 6:1-10

The Israelites had finally made it, received their inheritance – a land flowing with milk and honey. Just a few simple instructions: Do not allow people of foreign gods to live amongst you. When you enter in, I will give you the victory, but you must wipe them out! Do I need to say it?  They disobeyed, allowing heathen tribes and people to live among them.  Eventually, their disobedience resulted in another tribe so oppressive the Israelites were forced to take refuge in caves and mountain clefts.  The Midianites were a heathen people so powerful they would swoop into town at harvest time and claim for themselves the toil of the Israelites, robbing God’s people of everything they had worked so hard to plant and grow.  Imagine someone meeting you on the front porch when you return from Whole Foods, grabbing the bags from your hands, stepping back inside and slamming the door in your face.  The Israelites lived like beggars and nomads in their own land - a land so fertile and bursting with potential, a land specifically for them, but lost to them because of their sin.

At the age of two I went to my first Sunday school class at the very church I attend today. My parents worked three jobs to pay Christian school tuition for my brother and me. We said grace at every meal, and I never heard my dad listen to anything other than Christian radio. Never will I be able to stand before the Throne and say, “I didn’t know.” When I looked at those with whom I graduated or those who remained in the church, I am reminded of what I lost. I left the church the same year I left the school; I abandoned my parents, my heritage, and my God “to do it all my way.” I disobeyed to the point of living like a beggar – physically beaten, emotionally battered, spiritually empty, no place to call home. But it never had to be that way. I, too, could have remained married to the same man for twenty-five years; I, too could have gotten my degree from some place other than “School of Hard Knocks.” But I, like the Israelites, chose to disobey, chose my own way, and gave up something so perfect, for offal, refuse, excrement.  What lengths we are willing to go, to cling to our own disobedience!

It is only through God’s grace that today I am married to The World’s Best Husband.  It is only if God takes one of us Home that we will not make twenty-five years, but I doubt we’ll live to celebrate fifty. It is only by God’s grace I have a great family, a warm home full of love, a successful career as a mother, and people who cheer me on to follow my dreams – it’s everything I could have ever wanted. But I can’t help knowing, when we give our lives to following God He gives us even more.
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