I Am Not Worthy!

“…Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.”

 (Luke 7:6 ESV)

“When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.”

(Luke 7:9 ESV)

 

A centurion was a professional officer in the Roman army.  The centurion in the Roman army would fall somewhere between a high-ranking non-commissioned officer and a captain in the modern army. He oversaw and had authority of 100 soldiers.  He had to be tough, fair, courageous, and authoritative to be a Roman army official.  In Scriptures, this particular centurion is also depicted as a loving, kind, compassionate, and generous man, concerned with his servants’ declining health, which in the first century, not even the average citizen would show concern for the welfare of a servant. Also practiced in the first century, Jewish citizens would not have entered the homes of Gentiles for fear of becoming impure.  Most importantly, he demonstrated an understanding of and believed in Jesus’ authority and power, yet he did not see himself as worthy enough to expect a personal visit from Christ!  Not only was his servant healed, Christ commended him for his faith!

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Being unworthy is defined as not good enough to deserve something or someone.  A feeling of being insufficient in worth; and undeserving.  We all have experienced feelings of unworthiness. It’s a human feeling or condition that cannot be resisted or avoided.  Either as a parent, spouse, employee, student, friend, athlete, son or daughter, feelings of unworthiness creep in and paralyze our lives.  It can be brief and fleeting or long in duration. It can keep us from life’s events or change our course in life.    Unworthiness makes us second guess our actions, motives, and desires, and what we fundamentally believe in. 

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I have had my personal share of feeling unworthy!  I have experienced moments of unworthiness as a wife, as a mother, and even as a nurse. I know I’m in great company to this unwanted nuisance of feeling unworthy.  The struggle of always feeling “not good enough” or “not fitting in” makes it more difficult to navigate through life.  Just admitting I have, on many countless occasions struggled with unworthiness is hard to even admit but I know honesty would force all of us to agree it infects human life every second of every day.  Unworthiness is always lurking and waiting to attack us, especially in our weakest of moments.

 

 

Last month I experienced such a weak moment.  To be painfully honest, I have struggled with feelings of unworthiness spiritually for most of my life.  I feel I am THE MOST UNWORTHY of unworthiness in front of a Holy and Righteous God.  The origin of my spiritual unworthiness is none other but ME for I have no one to accuse, no spiritual experience to substantiate my allegation of unworthiness, no justification or validation to indicate its presence, it’s just there! 

 

On the day of my father’s funeral, I experienced a weak moment where unworthiness crept in filling me with the doubt of Christ’s love for me. I felt unworthy to be called a child of God.   I did not attend my father’s funeral because I was unable to face and hear stories of how great a father he was to children not his own. Envy and anger began filling and overflowing every fracture of my broken being. The strong desire to numb my conscience and ease my pain was palpable.   Stories I wish were my own, life narratives to cherish and treasure, sweet memories of a father and his love and affection for his little girl, were not mine to remember, embrace and share.  As I lay there grieving the broken emptiness and crying in prayer, I asked myself the following question:  Which God do I follow?  As a self-described “unworthy” follower of Christ, I saw only two options:

 

The Christ standing at my bedside saying, “my child, you must not weep, for I am with you always and I am here with you right now!  I will one day take away your pain and sorrow, but you must keep the faith and be patient, for your day has not yet come.”

 

The Christ who turns away from me in disgust for He is unwilling to look at me in my time of distress, unworthiness, and grieving pain.

 

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God; and so we are…” (1 John 3:1 ESV)

“And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, do not weep.” (Luke 7:13 ESV)

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10 ESV)

 

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

(2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)

“He will swallow up death forever; and wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth…” (Isaiah 25:8 ESV)

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4 ESV)

 

In times of our unworthiness, Christ restores us to worthiness!

What Christ do you follow?  Do you allow your feelings of unworthiness to keep you from life events?  Does it change your course in life?

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“Do you believe that God loves you?  Do you believe that the God of Jesus loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness, beyond fidelity and infidelity, that He loves you in the morning sun and in the evening rain, that He loves you when your intellect denies it, your emotions refuse it, and your whole being rejects him?  Do you believe that God loves without condition or reservation and loves you this moment as you are and not as you should be?”

—Brennan Manning

Abba! Father!

“And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6 ESV)

 

Abba is an Aramaic word that would most closely be translated as Daddy.  It represents the close, intimate relationship of a father to his child.  During Christ’s time on earth, children living in first century Palestine would lovingly call their fathers…Abba.  Christ through prayer to His Heavenly Father would call out with the word…Abba.  Through Christ, we are given the opportunity to enter into an intimate relationship with the Heavenly Father and call Him Abba/Father…this was revolutionary at that time, where many if not most in Christ’s time would consider it blasphemy to call God father.  He taught us through his disciples to pray beginning with the word… Father.  What a beautiful gift Christ gave to us that we may become sons and daughters of the only Creator and God of the universe.  How intimate and deep the relationship He created for us that we may be called the children of the Living God and call Him… Abba… Father.

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The father-daughter relationship is truly a blessed gift from God.  A father is critical to his daughters’ self-esteem, self-image, confidence, opinions and issues relating to life, and also to her spirituality.  This is one of the most important relationships in a woman’s life. The absence of this relationship has life-long implications that can perhaps never fully heal.  It also has detrimental implications for our society.  The brokenness of the fatherless extends through generations and contributes to the widespread darkness and despair not only in their lives but also in the lives of others.  Christ is the only answer to our darkness and despair…Christ calls us all in a relationship with Him, particularly and including the fatherless, the painfully broken child.

 

“The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.” (Psalm 146:9 ESV)

 

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A father lights his daughters’ way.  He guides her down the path of life and is very influential to all her future relationships, perhaps including her relationship with Christ.

 

I knew this day would come.  I feared just the thought of this day.  I trembled at the possibility of me having to one day confront, comfort, and embrace the six year old fatherless child which still exists deep inside me.  How will I comfort her?  What will I say?  And more importantly, what will I say to my Savior knowing I promised Him I will never again question His will?  How do I say goodbye to a father I never really knew?   This week that day came.  I had to say goodbye…

 

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Dear Daddy,

It is with great sadness and deep sorrow to say goodbye to you.  Please know I love you and I will miss you as I already have in my life for the past forty four years.   I am so very happy you recommitted your life to Christ in your later years.  I heard and felt the fruit of the Spirit in the repented guilt and remorse of your voice when we shared in conversation in the last few years and in your renewed expressed love for me and I know as I write this, Christ is embracing you and you have finally found your heavenly peace. I was told at your wake you carried a picture of me as a child in your wallet throughout all these painfully estranged years. I realized you kept me close the best way you could; the only way you knew how to and this proves you loved me too.  I wish I could have said goodbye in your final hours but I did not know your end was near.  I am comforted by the fact your family was with you as you crossed over and finally met Jesus.  I know Christ was standing there with open arms, saying, “well done good and faithful servant”.  I love you daddy and I look forward to the day when Christ wipes away all our tears and makes everything whole again.  I look forward to the day when we return to a world restored before sinful darkness and despair entered.  All is forgiven daddy…all is forgiven!  Until we meet again…

Love,

Your Youngest Daughter

 

 

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“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17 ESV)

        I’m walking through the darkness once again with the six year old living inside me, embracing and comforting this child as she is realizing the lost, long-gone years and facing once again the envy she has for the five children who were fortunate to know him as and call him their father, the complete void of happy memories, the lonely emptiness, and the brokenness, all the dark and painful brokenness of what was once an intact family.  Christ’s timing is perfect; I will not question Him but only recognize and focus on the many countless and wonderful blessings He has given me through these painful, broken, and hurtful years to suffice as one of His fatherless.  Thank you Jesus for being my Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

 

 

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In Memory of My Father…

George A. Keith

March 8, 1932-December 27, 2014