By Pastor Rodney Tilley
As many times as I write for the paper, I try to find catchy phrases and funny lines that will capture your attention and draw you into the article, but I do not want to do that today. Today, I want to write from my heart about who we are, and not who others or even we ourselves say we are. You see, last week was a difficult week for me personally, for after an absence of 10 years, I once again had a seizure, a grand mal type, and almost bite my tongue off. I was embarrassed for once again I was going to be defined by a set of medical criteria that would tag me with the “epileptic” label and for the rest of my life I would be seen as different than those around me. I do not mind being different than the norm, but I did not want to be labeled as abnormal, for that would mean, as least in my mind, that I was strange, odd, a person to be watched. It just did not go down well with me.
But God had other plans for that week for out of the blue, my best friend from Albania called and said he would be driving through, and then at church on that same Sunday the congregation gave me a surprise birthday party, and with accolades that came close to lying, I realized that God had a different label for me for which I should have known and he was showing me that I was “special” but not odd.
For one, Jesus has called me friend, yes, me and you a friend of God (John 15:15) and he also has made us family and called us his brothers and sisters (Hebrews 2:11). He took a man named Zacchaeus aside and when others had labeled him short and a “dirty politician,” Jesus called him a son of Abraham, which in Jewish culture, was a term of endearment. He even changed people’s names to reflect what he saw in them, not what they saw, and used that name to counter years of ridicule for being just a poor fisherman. Jesus sees beyond our past and he forgot to read our history, and he did not check our labels for he takes us as such ordinary people and asks us to do such extraordinary things.
In fact, I am grateful for he even mentioned me not by name but by symptom in Matthew 4:24 when it says, “…..those having seizures, and the paralyzed and he healed them.” I mean you cannot get more personal that this and that is the way Jesus is. He does not take us in mass, no, he takes us just as we are individually and labels us as the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:13-14). Not just a little candle but you, yes you, with sicknesses and illnesses, you as the “Light of the World,” the entire world, and that I think is even bigger than Texas. You see, years before it was prophesied that Jesus would….. Take our infirmities and carry our diseases” (Matthew 8:17), and then he did just that.
So this week take it from me, you are more that you think you are, more than others think you are, more than your parents think you are, and ALL that God thinks you are. You are special, we all are, and we all have special needs, and God loves to show us, friend, brother, sister, just how special we are.
For more information on the goodness of our God, please call Pastor Rodney Tilley at 432-207-0015 at the Van Horn Community Church.