God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. I Corinthians 12:9-10 MSG
As I approached my seat and saw the man I’d be seated next to for the next 2.5 hours, my smile faltered a bit. Who made these reservations and chose this seat for me? This was not how I wanted to start my vacation.
He wore a camouflage ball cap and heavy work boots. His long, really long, beard was mostly white, as was his hair. I made assumptions. I know better.
His name was Roy Rodgers. He was raised on a farm in Mississippi and lives in Arkansas, now traveling the world repairing and refitting machines that wrap candy. I’ve always wanted to know about the people who made the machines in factories.
And, yes, he’s been to the Willy Wonka candy factory.
We talked about his daughters and grandkids. He showed me pictures of them. I wanted to know how he learned his skill with the machines. He said the best mechanics were farmers. I didn’t know we farmed rice in the South.
Our outward appearances couldn’t have been more different. But we found plenty to talk about. We chose to accept each other, laying down any preconceived notions.
If we are open to it, most of our interactions would turn out this way. So why are so many of us asking these questions: Where do I fit in? Who are my people? Why am I the one who’s always different? When do I get accepted just as I am?
Women and girls, young and old, every color and religion. We’re all asking the same questions. And sadly, so often we believe the lie that we’re the only ones on the outside.
The mere fact that so many of us have felt this way at some point highlights what God says of us as the church in 1 Corinthians 12. We all have a part to play and God gave us different roles. He designed each of us as we are, and I imagine He expects us to accept how he made us.
It is our differences that make us unique. We were not designed to look and think just like everyone else. God chose us to show the world that we can experience and show his love even if we are not carbon copies of everyone else. Because we are not.
Charlotte Elliott wrote “Just as I Am” when she was feeling useless because of her infirmities. In it she reminds us that God accepts us just as we are.
Just as I am – poor, wretched, blind;
Sight, riches, healing of the mind,
Yea, all I need, in thee to find,
O Lamb of God, I come.
Today, I will accept and love myself just as I am. Today, I will accept and love others just as they are. Father, forgive me for the times when I have not.
Because you are what God says that you are! You are enough!
And just in case you wondered, Roy says there are no chocolate rivers or Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka’s factory.
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Hey there friend! Andrea McCaskey here. I believe everything happens for a reason, life is meant to be lived in relationship with others and there is beauty to be found everywhere if we look. I am a friend of God, wife of Jamal and mother of Brandon and Madison.
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