Carry On: A story of Resilience, Redemption, and an Unlikely Family

paralympicsThe title for this blog is the same title of the book I just finished. It is about a young man who’s early life was pretty bleak. His mother died when he was nine and his dad was an addict. By the time Dartanyon was a sophomore in high school he was sleeping on friend’s coaches. Did I mention that he’s also blind?

Dartanyon’s story is a Paralympic story. Paralympics in general receive little media coverage compared to that of the Olympics. That’s unfortunate considering our info-saturated culture. Hopefully this book will reverse that and change some hearts and world views in the process.

Before becoming a Paralympian Dartanyon would become part of a new family–an incredible story of foster parenting. But the story is much more than that as it covers a number of life’s issues: mentoring, foster care system, race, disability, courage, humor caring and investing in another person, faith, love, hope, trauma, resilience, and redemption, to name a few.

The story embodies the words of C. S. Lewis who said, “Friendship…is born at that moment when one man says to another, “What! You too? I thought that no one by myself…”

Carry On is story that reminds us that God still uses people to accomplish the unthinkable and heal the unlovable.

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The Promise and the Messiness of Passover

A couple of things happen that fuel the exodus of God’s people from Egypt: God’s promise to Abraham and Pharaoh’s dilemma in dealing with that promise. Several chapters earlier God promises Abraham that he will multiply his seed and bless them (Gen. 22:17). They multiply off the chart creating a population problem for Pharaoh. So, what does the leader of Egypt do? He begins a slave enterprise. His people suffer terribly and this gets God’s attention! Over time the people’s lament get’s old and God says “enough is enough!”

Enter the plagues, especially that of killing the first born. It’s helpful to understand Egyptian hierarchy to make sense of why Pharaoh chose to kill the first born in the first place. You see, it was a society ruled by primogeniture. That’s when the first-born has absolute power within the family structure. Did you know that Pharaoh was the first-born of the first-born of the first-born. So, you could say that he was exercising his “first born” right!

We finally arrive at the topic of our conversation today–the Passover. Keeping in mind the whole first born thing, are you familiar with the phrase, “What goes around, comes around”? Well, that is exactly what Pharaoh ends up experiencing in this whole mess. Pharaoh, THE first born, gets it in the end. The same destruction visits him and comes full circle and strikes his own child. He becomes his own victim. God’s creational purpose must be brought out of slavery through the Exodus and by the killing of the first born in order to fulfill his promise.

The Passover needs the blood of the lamb. It is a theme the saints need. We need to remember this event as a participatory event, then and now. It is a remembrance and proclamation. Passover is all about passing on the faith. It is an antidote to nostalgia, wanting to get back to what was comfortable eating leeks, onions and fish. The people had it well. But it is also an antidote to cruelty, remembering that we were once slaves. Thanks be to God, the lamb of God, who takes away our sins saying “enough is enough” and  or should we now say “it is finished”.

 

 

How the promises of God play out in family functions & relationships

Bible Readings: Gen 37:3-8, 17b-22, 26-34;50:15-21 (Luke 6:35)

A recipe for disaster! The idea that Israel loved Joseph more than anyone of his other children is simply a bad idea. When seeds of favoritism are planted weeds of anger grow among siblings intoxicating family relationships (Genesis 37:4). If that wasn’t enough, family bonding in the Israel household was further hampered by Joseph’s teenage naivety and arrogance. Par for the course of most normal 17-year-old teenagers! Add to this the past sin of deception (Jacob’s deception plan to inherit his father’s blessing-Gen. 27) that shows up in the current generation (Joseph’s brothers deceiving their father telling him that he had been killed by a wild animal-Gen. 37:20).

Favoritism, arrogance, and deception. What family hasn’t experienced these things!

What can God do in a context like this?

God keeps his promise to future generations. Like Joseph, he responds graciously to those who have sinned against him (Gen. 50:20). Whether we think that everything happens for a reason (i.e. the sovereignty of God) or that he simply works for our good even through the evil we encounter (i.e. man’s free-will), he is still working out his purpose in those who trust him. As the title of an old hymn reminds me, “God is working His Purpose Out”!

http://www.hymnary.org/text/god_is_working_his_purpose_out