As I walked into the nursing home, I could hear the screams. They weren’t screams of pain, but rather screams of frustration. I knew immediately who it was.
As I entered the room and approached his bed, I gently and quietly repeated over and over again, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus … The man did not know who I was and hadn’t known for quite a few years. Speaking the name of Jesus invoked the Holy Spirit to fill the room; God’s presence was suddenly palpable.
It was the name of Jesus that calmed my dad down enough to hear me sing some of his favorite hymns, and then for me to kiss his forehead before I left.
The day I got the word that he had passed away, I was in a busy airport. Again, I silently prayed, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus … Though the airport was bustling with activity around me, my soul began to experience a sense of calm. God’s Spirit was present with me as I boarded the plane. Once seated, the flight attendant had no clue why I had tears running down my face as I cried quietly for what could have been.
My dad was a pastor when I was a young child, but as I was approaching my middle-school years, he chose to leave my mom and our family for another life. His sin led him down a path toward eventual loneliness and heartache, and caused grief and pain for so many. In the years following, Jesus had restored our relationship. Had we been reconciled through Jesus? Absolutely! But restoration and reconciliation hadn’t erased the pain or the natural consequences of sin; they were both very real.
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus … What would I say at my dad’s funeral, I wondered?
God led me to a passage I had read many times. Yet, when I read it that day, the words took on new meaning. “For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NLT).
What had my dad left me when he died? The Holy Spirit spoke to me, reminding me that my true inheritance was from my heavenly Father. God had already planned an inheritance for me from before the beginning of time.
Our divine inheritance, value and identity do not come from our earthly fathers. The lifeblood of Jesus pays the price for us, so that our inheritance is full, rich and eternal. It is for us today and forever in the future. We have been redeemed and liberated by the blood of Jesus.
Only Jesus can completely free us from the most deeply painful areas of our lives. Only His Spirit can shepherd us toward healing and transform us from the inside. Sometimes, as ministers, we feel we have to always have it “together.” I used to feel “less than” when I’d hear others speak of godly parents who had prayed for their children since they were born. I’ve since realized that I, too, have a godly heritage and inheritance because of what Jesus did for me!
I pray that whatever season of life you are in right now, you’ll also be reminded of your godly heritage and the eternal inheritance that is yours because of Jesus. He is all we need. Above Him there is no other!
- Jesus, we give You permission to reach into the painful areas of our lives, and, by Your Spirit, heal and release us from the pain of the past.
- Jesus, we pray that You will remind us of the “safe people” that are already in our lives with whom we can share our journey.
- Thank you Jesus, for reminding us that You are all we really need.
- Pray for those suffering due to war and famine. From the unprecedented famine of Eastern Africa to the refugee crises of Syria, Sudan, Iraq and Myanmar, to Yemen, where more than 1 million people are suffering from cholera, there is a need for relief, mercy and hope.
- Pray that the Holy Spirit would raise up a new generation of passionate church-planters with a contextualized vision for cities, suburbia and rural communities.
Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.