A Message From The Publisher
How great is your faithfulness?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. — Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)
Bobby R. Henry, Sr.
Several thoughts have bombarded my spirit since I listened to Reverend Crunch’s sermon on Sunday, December 9, 2007 as he spoke from the Book of Ezekiel 16:3-9.
What I got from his sermon was a graphic description of an innocent baby being pulled from its mother’s womb and discarded into a field, left to die a horrible death alone. Kicking and screaming, this infant lay in a pool of blood with its umbilical cord still attached to the placenta in a barren field.
With all hope of survival fading faster than water vapor in the Mohave Desert, God appears and says to the child struggling in its own blood, “Live.”
What an awesome blueprint to build one’s life on!
I’m sure that there are just as many takes on this scripture as those of the people that heard it.
Why is suffering important? Will it make us stronger? Does obedience to God manifest itself through suffering? Or does it bring us closer to God?
As Black people in America trying to survive in a hostile environment littered with societal, monetary and racial discriminations, our hope should never be in the cries and screams of those who have worshipped false gods even though we lay in inhospitable ground.
The symbolisms equated in the previous verses represent for me my own birth and life up to this point. The kicking of the baby lying in its own blood still attached to its umbilical cord reinforced to me that the invariable struggles I go through, both good and not so good, say to me I am not alone. Even though it may appear that I struggle alone, the attachment (umbilical cord) says otherwise. Besieged with life’s issues, I am fighting in the pool of life (blood), yet I lay in a barren field (no hope) until He came by and said, “Live”. This was the awakening to His Word.
Life, after being told by Him to live, has a whole new meaning.
My morning walks have taken on fresh perspectives. What I thought matters doesn’t really matter at all.
I began to look for those who have come from similar humble beginnings, like the Child born in a manger, whose mot-her gave birth to Him amidst animals.
Yet even before Him there were those whose faithfulness allowed them to suffer and endure humiliation. Some were thrown into the lion’s den and into fiery furnaces, locked in dungeons, and some were beheaded.
Some of us today, if we were asked to deviate from our own dilemma for just one iota to see about someone, we would have more excuses than fat is greasy.
Just a thought: if you could wrap faithfulness in a gift box, what would it be and who would you give it to?
The scriptures in Ezekiel 16: 3-9 continue with the growth, caring and loving of the child into adulthood by God. When God brought the baby to maturity, He assured her that she would be forever protected no matter what she did and what happened around her. It was all good because He said, “you became Mine.”
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24 (New King James Version)
These turns of events and descriptive narratives of what seems to be the totality of life in some desolate place on a plant in a far, far away galaxy grate across my skin like being pulled through a rusty barbed-wire fence.
The pain and the surreal agony are so fresh and yet this entire scene occurred 12 years ago and just like yesterday it smells as fresh as a Christmas orange being pealed.
Tragedies abound everywhere and it may seem hopeless; however, like that baby lying in a pool of blood, it ain’t over.
For the families of victims of Hurricane Dorian and other countless incidents of devastation, there is HOPE! A Word of comfort is only a prayer, a worship and Psalm away.
The 23 Psalm from the Message
“God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure. You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing. Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life. I’m back home in the house of God for the rest of my life.”