“… these things happened to [ancient Israelites] as an example, and they were written for our instruction …” – 1 Corinthians 10:11
I have almost always been invisible. It is my super-power. I have gone through life and cannot, for the life of me, recall a time when anyone ever pointed at me and said (to anyone else): You should be more like him, or try not to ever be like him. I have never been bad enough to be made a bad example; I’ve never been great enough to be made a good example. I have just gone through life trying as best I can to do what needs doing with as little fuss or muss as possible. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’ve done plenty of things for which I’m ashamed, but I have been simultaneously lucky enough not to have been seen or caught. Invisibility truly is my super-power.
One of the things I have always appreciated about the Hebrew people, though, is that they don’t seem to have tried hiding things for which they should be ashamed. They whined in the wilderness, they engaged in idolatry, they wanted to be like their neighbors, and then complained when getting what they wanted did not give them what they’d hoped to gain or achieve. They are so human. Even the things they did well, such as overcoming adversity through luck, deceit, or trickery (and occasionally brute force) more often than not led them to, ultimately, acknowledge their dependence on God. They may not have wanted to be made examples to the world, but they kept their writings honest enough to be of value. Their visibility was their super-power, and I need to embrace that more in my own life if I ever want things to be truly well with my soul.
God, things happen. Ranchers know it. I know it. You know it. To hide the events of our lives under a bushel does not allow our light to shine, that others may see and learn from our example. The best news of all is that there is nothing we can do or have done that will separate us from the love you have for us. Help me expose your grace so that others may come to have confidence in you and your love. Amen.
-Fr. Keith Axberg