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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Do Not Worry


In 1985, my life seemed to be going in a totally upward direction but, in very short order, I hit upon a series devastating of crises that I won't go into here - I wrote about them in this venue quite some time ago.

In that time of turmoil, I suffered from severe bouts of depression that caused me to ponder suicide - at times on a minute-by-minute basis. I remember waking up one particular morning. Before getting up, I looked up at the ceiling and said, 'God, if you really exist, now is the day I need to know it because I am not going to make it through today. Please give me some sign to let me know you are here." With that, I got out of bed - on the opposite side of what I normally did. As I did, I held my head in my hands and noticed my foot resting upon an old, well worn, leather-bound Bible that belonged to mama. She had given it to me a few years before when I left for college. I don't know how it got there - I thought it was packed away. I picked it up and the thin, fluid-like papers slid open to the book of Matthew. If logic plays into this story, I suppose my mind was geared to focus on the word 'worry' as I scanned the page, so I read the following passage.

Do Not Worry

Therefore, I tell you, don't be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food, and the body more than clothing? See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they?

"Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his splendor was not dressed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won't he much more clothe you, you of little faith?

"Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.

Matthew 6:25-34

I made it through that day. A week or so later, we were blessed with the news that a baby was on the way. About seven months later, we had a boy who we named Matthew. Long before he was born, I always knew my son's name would be Matthew. That I happened upon the, 'Do not worry' passage is significant to me because it forever took away any self destructive thoughts I had from that day forward.

I consider this passage from the Bible a gift from God - that universally omnipotent entity who created everything - the one who cannot be named and the one who cannot be seen - the one whose plan we cannot seem to understand.

Today, 22 September 2005, my best friend, my son Matthew turns 20 years old. The meaning of his name is, 'Gift from God.'

Matt,

I am glad to be alive to see you. I am glad to be here watching you grow up. I am so glad for that day, months before you were born when I rolled out of bed to read what you have consistently reminded me of throughout your beautiful life. You truly are a gift from God and I am so blessed to have been given the privilege of being your father, of being your friend.

Happy birthday son. I love you Mattie.

9 Comments:

At Thu Sep 22, 12:19:00 PM MDT, Blogger Beaver said...

That's a beautiful post. It's amazing how loved ones can be so significant to us... Matthew is a beautiful name, and he is quite a handsome fellow.

Thanks for sharing this story. I'll bear it in mind.

 
At Thu Sep 22, 02:14:00 PM MDT, Blogger Legend In My Own Mind said...

J-

Please pass on a very "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" from me to Matt. You are truly blessed. He's a terrific young man. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as they say.

 
At Thu Sep 22, 03:03:00 PM MDT, Blogger Paul said...

William James speaks of the "once born type" and the "twice born type" - in terms of religious temperaments. I had to hit a similar low before coming back up.

It seems as though these lows, while they do have danger, are the only way forward for some.

 
At Thu Sep 22, 03:27:00 PM MDT, Blogger Cricketina said...

What a powerful passage!! I, too, hit a few low spots, most recently back in February. One night when the world was falling down around me my friend sent me a text message inviting me to church. I sat through the service silent and crying, giving my heart to God, yet again. She apologized for asking me to go with her. She had mistaken my poor facial expression and silence for some negative emotion.

It's nice to see you back! Pass along a Happy Birthday to your boy and enjoy your evening!!

~Cricket

 
At Thu Sep 22, 06:12:00 PM MDT, Blogger Liquidplastic said...

How beautiful, J --- such an inspiring and thought provoking post, and yes that's a cliche! Thank you!

Tell your son for me, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

 
At Thu Sep 22, 09:58:00 PM MDT, Blogger wordsworth said...

Praise God for Matthew. Praise God for you. Praise God for coming forward when we need him most, sometimes in the most surprising ways. Praise God for opening your heart and your mind to His word, which brought you relief. Thank you for posting your wonderful story. Happy birthday to Matthew.

 
At Wed Sep 28, 12:43:00 AM MDT, Blogger M said...

Happy Birthday, Matthew!

 
At Fri Nov 04, 02:11:00 PM MST, Blogger iamnasra said...

Im really touched with this post about how you were about to do the unthinkable and there God have opened up a new way for your...I hope all path be the same way ..you receive bits of hints on your path of life....

 
At Fri Nov 04, 02:12:00 PM MST, Blogger iamnasra said...

Im really touched with this post about how you were about to do the unthinkable and there God have opened up a new way for your...I hope all path be the same way ..you receive bits of hints on your path of life....

 

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