The Stories that Shape Us
I don't believe God tests us with devastating diagnoses or nasty breakups. I just can't believe my God of love would do such a thing.
I do believe God can help us turn our challenges into blessings. Shtuff happens. It sucks. But then what will we do with it?
In this morning's meditation, I was asked to come up with five things I am grateful for. Pretty easy, actually. But then I was asked to think of one thing that has been a challenge, that I can be grateful for. That was a little harder. But when I really thought it through, I can be grateful even for the things I wish had never happened. Because they made me who I am. And I kinda like who I am these days.
Tattoos are everywhere these days. My dad, a boomer, doesn't understand. "What if people come to regret those tattoos or the stories they tell about their lives?" he asks. But that's just the point. Gen Xers and Millennials have learned to appreciate the challenges because they do shape who we become. Putting the stories of our lives in ink reminds us of where we have come from so we can appreciate where we are.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Psalm 66
Make a joyful noise to God, all the earth;
sing the glory of his name;
give to him glorious praise.
Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!
Because of your great power, your enemies cringe before you.
All the earth worships you;
they sing praises to you,
sing praises to your name.’
Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds among mortals.
He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in him,
who rules by his might for ever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let the rebellious not exalt themselves.
Bless our God, O peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept us among the living,
and has not let our feet slip.
For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
You brought us into the net;
you laid burdens on our backs;
you let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a spacious place.
I will come into your house with burnt-offerings;
I will pay you my vows,
those that my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
I will offer to you burnt-offerings of fatlings,
with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats.
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
and I will tell what he has done for me.
I cried aloud to him,
and he was extolled with my tongue.
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
But truly God has listened;
he has given heed to the words of my prayer.
Blessed be God,
because he has not rejected my prayer
or removed his steadfast love from me.