In April I spent the day with my cousin’s daughter who attends UCSB hiking at the Gaviota Wild Caves which they call the “Wind Caves”. It was a perfect sunny day with a slight breeze coming up from the Pacific Ocean. After picking out some munchies at the local store we headed over to the hiking trails. When we arrived we looked up toward the mountain that hosted our destination and this is what we saw.
The hike to the top was not an easy one with the heat of the day as I followed behind Tayler. You see Tayler is 19 years old and full of life. Let’s just say she would have made it to the top much faster without me. However, I think I did pretty good keeping up with her. (smile)
Our view from the top of the Wind Caves
As we looked up toward the mountain I was reminded of Rahab and the walls of Jericho. I envisioned seeing Jericho built up against these mountains and the amount of work it had to take to build the city. It takes work to build anything of value and if for some reason it falls apart it can be devastating. Whether it is a career, a home, family, business, or anything else we put our energy, love and resources into. If it crumbles or we don’t succeed it can leave us feeling as if life is over, now what? I believe if it were not for the stories Rahab heard throughout the years, and her new hope and faith in God she may have sat down in her ruins and died there. And yet, what happened is her faith and hope actually propelled her into the purpose and plan God had for her life.
One life lesson I take away from Rahab’s story is her past no longer dictated her future. It was the ruins of her past that brought her to a place where she longed to be free. And God in his grace and mercy took Rahab to the place where she found herself having to make the decision of whether to remain in the ruins of regret or put her trust and faith in God. We learn of how Rahab said YES to the opportunity knocking at her heart and front door which saved her and her family bringing them out of dark circumstances and into a new life with God. With each step she took she became closer to God, to his people and to her purpose in life.
So, what happened to Rahab after the fall of Jericho? It’s important for us to know Rahab continued on in her journey with the Israelites toward the Promised Land believing God for a better future and she got one! She learned the ways of God and His people, and became a woman of virtue. Little did she know the great plan of God when she became the wife of a prominent Israelite, Salmon of the tribe of Judah, and the mother of Boaz. In the book of Ruth you will find the story of Boaz and how he married Ruth, and they had a son, Obed. Their son Obed became the father of Jesse which was the father of King David.
Rahab’s life was valuable in many ways but would she have ever guessed one day she would be a mother in the line of the Messiah. I think not. Maybe her past would have left her hiding in the background of the Israelites feeling shame, or as a servant held in captivity. But God’s plan was different from any Rahab could have imagined. He took the shame from her past and wiped the slate clean when she put her trust and faith in him. The old was gone and she was onto something new.
Through Rahab’s story we learn the importance of accepting the freedom that comes with God’s forgiveness. Our past is just that, our past. All of us are faced with choices every day and in order for us to move up and into a better place more suited for our purpose we’re not to spend time wallowing in the things of the past. God’s desire is for us to learn from them, good and bad. We are to take the good and build on it and take the bad and learn from it.
When God calls you into a new place trust He has something bigger and better he wants to do in you and through you. His bigger and better for Rahab was that she would know and experience a pure and unconditional love with God, and in that new life he blessed her as a wife and mother.
Today do you find life crumbling around you from mistakes pulling you back into the past and prohibiting you from moving into the purposes and plans of God for your life? If so, I ask you to stop where you are and surrender those ruins because the same God who saved Rahab wants to save you. If you trust in him by faith he will walk you into your Promised Land. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” Romans 15:4
I would have to say today was a bittersweet kind of day as my granddaughter Gianna’s mommy got married, and not to my son. It was a day of mixed emotions as I’ve secretly hoped she would marry my son and the two of them would become a family. I guess what’s important is that Gianna knows she is loved by her parents, and their partners. More than anything I want her to know family and know how much I and so many others love her.
Families look very different from 2000 years ago. But one thing in common is that they still have dysfunction which has been around since the beginning of time. It started with the first family of Adam and Eve. It did not matter that they lived in the Garden of Eden and had everything they could want. They really did have it all and still they were not happy and content with their lives. Remember, this was the place where waters flowed and beauty enveloped them every day. A place of no evil, no shame and where they could walk and talk with God! And yet, it was not enough.
Even in the best of lives circumstances they found a way to mess it up. Eve manipulated Adam to get her way as she encouraged him to take from the tree of good and evil, they experienced sibling rivalry between their son’s, jealousy, competitiveness, and lack of respect for one another. They experienced dark times with the death of Abel and the loss of Cain as God sent him away from the family. Basically, the family fell apart because of choices they and their children made. Definitely not the way God intended as He had prepared a beautiful life for them and for the generations to come.
A couple of years ago I was struggling to envision a healthy family. It felt so far out of reach I could literally not remember what it looked like, or what it felt like after struggling with my own. I made the decision to visit a friend from high school in North Carolina so I could spend some time in a home where two people made a commitment to one another, their children and powered through the years to see them through college, married, and living good lives. As I settled into my seat on my way home I closed my eyes and replayed tapes from the past, the good memory tapes. I talked to God about how I needed to have that vision of a healthy family so I could set my eyes on it and begin to put my prayer into action. It was then I felt his words so gently remind me of how families come in different shapes and sizes, and not every family is alike. We may face similar obstacles, struggles and share many of the same accomplishments when it comes to career, graduation, marriage, babies. But not one family is alike. Every one of us brings something unique to our family. We’re designed to make our families complete.
My family may have not been the Cleaver’s or the Brady Bunch but they’re my family. It’s a family I’ve loved and still love. It is a family I continue to pray for because we all need prayer. There is so much good in each one, so much talent and so much more needing to be healed in all of us. Unfortunately, the bad and the ugly have out powered the good for some time now. It’s been a battle of great difficulty, sorrow, loss and pain. It has been a journey I would not wish on any family and that is why I consider myself equipped to tell others what NOT to do!
I found this quote by Marge Kennedy today that seems to be accurate:
“The informality of family life is a blessed condition that allows us to become our best while looking our worst”
But in light of it all, God’s light, I know we’re loved and that his plan for us individually and as a family will come full circle. He has woven such growth and blessing as he continues to heal our family. I have faith there will be complete restoration some day.
In God’s goodness I now have 2 beautiful granddaughters and another grandchild on the way! My oldest son and his wife are growing their family. It is an exciting time as we experience God in different ways as he heals our family.
Somehow I needed that dream rekindled in my heart. I needed to see how families that work together really stay together. I think this is what Adam and Eve must have done, worked together with God to re-establish the family. All throughout the Bible we’re given examples of family, relationships and how to do it right. And yet, we can still get it wrong. Life is full of learning, loving, and forgiving. These are ingredients that help keep a family together. There will be things in life that get in our way and we may need forgiveness with lots of “Do Overs”. Guess what, we’re in luck because God forgives and is the giver of “Do Overs!” Although there is much work to be done I am reminded of how He makes beautiful things out of us.