No matter what your history or story entails, you are valuable beyond measure. Perhaps an analogy is in order…
Seven card stud…isn’t that the name of the game? The one where the player gets to choose the five best. What a notion. The cards dealt are seven, but two get discarded. The two that the player determines are not worthy of the final hand are set aside. Choices. We have the power and ability to make choices. What do we keep, and what do we let go of? It’s kind of like a box of chocolates really…why would anyone ever choose some coconut cream filled thing when the pure chocolate/almond/caramel delight is sitting in the very next spot!
In life, it seems that we have no problem releasing the inanimate objects that do not serve us well, or that we choose to simply let go of. Rejecting two weaker cards is a split second and easy decision in most cases, but what about the ‘cards’ we are dealt in life? We often hear people use the analogy that ‘this is just the hand I was dealt,’ in speaking of genetic family traits and tendencies. “It is what it is” sort of mentality. And we even go so far as to embrace the negative traits tightly in our psyche, while being hesitant or reserved in claiming the strong and good ones. We essentially discard the strongest cards to the detriment of our entire hand! Am I making sense?
I will make this very personal. My father was a complex man. He is a part of me and my blood surely would reveal that. I honor his memory and loved him very much. When I consider his life, this is the kind of hand that immediately comes to mind:
- A hard-working and steadfast provider
- A creative and imaginative thinker
- A stirring and eloquent writer
- A gifted and talented musician
- A get-down-to-business man of his word
- A burdened and depressed mind
- A resentful heart towards authority
There are many more of course, but these came to mind for me. Your initial list might look similar or different when considering your father/mother or person of authority in your life. But let’s say these seven are my hand. There is no doubt for a moment which two would not make my final cut. I would simply lay down 6 and 7, and play the rest. I would take hold of the gifts of his life and lay down the troubled portions that in no way define me or my seed…my children. Could it really be that easy??!! Surely life and family bloodlines are intricately more difficult and complicated than that, and what of traits that do not seem to apply at all?! And what about throwing out the whole hand altogether?! We would not want to do that, but it is the reasoning here that I am getting at. Are we really only a reflection of our genetics? Is there anything that we uniquely bring to the table? Are we just sort of stuck with things that we would really rather do without? Are we a reflection of our father/mother?
It is honest and fair to ask such questions. I have asked them, and the answers have come in the most tender and precious of ways…“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”…2 Corinthians 5:7. That is an amazing truth. Jesus Christ sets the whole record straight and gives those who call on His name a completely restored and healed hand to play. He is the ultimate wild card! I remember times playing cards that I would feel a sense of unfairness at the notion of the wild card. For example, if deuces are wild and if one is lucky enough to land one, it could be used as ANY other card at all. What??!! And so my useless hand of 7,8,2,10, Jack could suddenly become a strong straight as that 2 would be transformed into a 9?? The one with the good fortune of securing the wild card would be thrilled, while someone who didn’t might just become thoroughly annoyed! That annoyance is a picture of the flesh really. But that wild card opens the doors to all kinds of possibilities and new potential. The whole notion of being stuck with the hand your given goes completely out the window when the ole’ wild card comes into play! Will we embrace and hope for it? Or cling to what seems ‘fair’ in our book, and stay with the original hand no matter what? So funny, because I love to play with a wild card in the game now.
Jesus Christ puts new talents, abilities, and mindsets into us that we did not even know we had the potential for. He refines and purifies any inherited traits in us to reveal His glory and faithfulness through us. He transforms the weak and broken things we carry into works of humble beauty in his honor. He is the miracle savior. Nothing is impossible to those who believe…”that is God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.” Romans 4:17.
Remember the discard pile? Those cards we chose to throw out because they were the weakest ones in the hand? It turns out that those are the very cards the Lord Jesus uses to cause faith, endurance, and perseverance to rise up in our lives. He is gracious to allow us to set those cards aside TO HIM. We don’t need to carry them in their broken state anymore. If we trust in the Lord alone with the hardest and most difficult weaknesses and insecurities we struggle with, he will transform and change that discard pile of nothing good into something amazing. He will use it for good and it will bring him glory. There is no greater purpose for anything in our lives than that. Will we trust him with the discard pile? It is from there where our most powerful and beautiful testimonies of the Lord’s goodness will flow from. Someone needs to hear that testimony. Someone in your sphere of influence needs to hear your testimony. Our temporary pain is never wasted. Behind it all stands a testimony of the wonder-working power of the Lord, who bestows on us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair..(Isaiah 61:3) Now that is the kind of testimony that can save a lost soul.
And so, back to one of the original questions…AM I MY FATHER’S SON/DAUGHTER?
Yes, you are!! You ARE your Heavenly Father’s son/daughter. You are who HE says you are. You have a beautiful and creative mind and you are covered in His love and mercy. You have a hope and purpose and are designed to bear good fruit for His kingdom. May the Lord bless and keep you. May his face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace!
Now go out and grab all the wild cards you can get!
(This was a letter written for my big brother months ago. The Lord laid on my heart that someone needed to hear these words.)