Saturday, March 20, 2004
Our God, Who Makes All Things New
I am about to do a new thing: now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. —Isaiah 43:19–21
I left my large, tight-knit African-American family in St. Louis to attend a New England boarding school—despite my father’s objections and racially based fears—when I was fourteen. I did not realize at the time that my two oldest brothers had gone to my father. They begged, pleaded and even cried in order to convince my father to not only give his permission for my departure, but also his blessing. My father always greeted me with kisses and hugs whenever I returned home form boarding school despite my lingering anger about his initial vehement opposition to my leaving. Yet, before my father died (shortly after I graduated from college), I saw his fear and his sometimes angry words as his very broken form of human love. In retrospect, I realize that God was calling me into something new, not because I became professionally successful in the world’s eyes. My brothers’ intervention healed the wound in my father’s fearful soul. I was my father’s ninth child. It was a real struggle for him to let me go. He gave up his role as the source of daily nurturing, guidance, and protection in my life. He sent me into the wilderness of strange white men he did not know. My father prayed everyday. I imagine that he prayed not just for my safety, but that God would show me the way. When he let me leave his home, I was no longer his child, but God’s child. My own life has been filled with many personal, professional, and geographical changes. I have always tried to make difficult personal and professional decisions within the framework of seeking to hear how God is making my life new. I pray everyday, especially during Lent, that I will allow God to guide me.
God, help us to perceive your guidance and Spirit in the world. Help us during this Lenten season to be willing to perceive and be grateful for the ways in which you are making each of us new persons.
Larry I. Palmer