For Jesse

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.”

Psalm 139:1-4  

If you are like most people you have wondered a time or two as to why you are here, why you were born and what is the purpose for your being alive. These are all great questions to which there is an answer. You were created by God and for God His Word declares, “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16).
Your life has meaning and it has purpose. These thoughts have played over and over again this week in my mind as I read a social media post from my nephew sharing that one of his best friends had taken his own life this past week. Jesse was only 16 years of age just a few days short of what would have been his 17th birthday. From reading his obituary he was an amazing young man with so much potential. We will never know what could have been but we can still love and enjoy and seek to understand what was, with the hope of making a difference in the life of someone who is in pain and in need of help, all the while helping ourselves along in our own journey.  

Every life is sending up a message, a flair of sorts with the hope of being rescued. We were all created with a desire to know and be known, to love and be loved, to accept and be accepted. Each of us was created to be part of something bigger than ourselves. You might not know this but our greatest need in this life is to know God and to love Him as everything and I mean everything flows from the fountainhead of that revelation. The truth is, we are all broken people, living in a broken world among other broken people. From reading Jesse’s obituary I am sure he understood this about himself and others and was seeking in his own way to help himself by helping others. The problem Jesse faced is one we all must wrestle with. If we try to find the meaning of life apart from understanding the very One who created us we will come up empty every time, like thinking you know where you are going only to end up in a cul de sac. Its just as the Bible teaches, “the heavens declare the glory of God” which is to say you can go to the beach or the mountains and if you are honest as you gaze upon the beauty of creation something inside you will be crying out, “there is a God, there is a God.” But as beautiful as creation is, it can’t explain God to us, it merely proves He exists.

And though creation speaks of the existence of God, only Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, who came to earth clothed in human flesh can make God known to us. He is the only one who has seen the Father, so He is the only one qualified in making the Father known to us personally. Life without Jesus is like trying to have a relationship with someone by spending time with their foot print in the sand. The footprint is evidence of their existence but it can do nothing to explain and teach us of a persons love for us or how they think and feel about us. Only a person can do that and that is exactly what Jesus came to do.  

Jesus came to reconcile us back to the Father. Because our sin has separated us from God it’s impossible for us to understand the heart and mind of God towards us because we aren’t in a relationship with Him until we understand we are alienated from God and come to accept the forgiveness God offers us at the Cross of Christ and are Born Again. Once again, it’s like trying to know the heart of a person by spending time with their footprint in the sand. Jesus really did walk on the beach and He left footprints in the sand people could examine but His interest was in mankind and His purpose was to make a way each of us could have a personal relationship with God the Father and knowing Him which in turn opens up our understanding of God’s plan and purposes for our lives individually.

You have gifts, loved one, something unique that makes you different from every other person on the planet because God made you that way. There is a reason why you are alive, you have a role to play in God’s ultimate plan one way or another. God’s plan involves you and other people, lives to touch and people to serve and to share His life and love with. We were not created to go it alone, but to join hands with others knowing we are better together than we could ever be apart. Yes, loved one, Jesse’s life serves as a reminder to us that every life counts and makes a lasting impact in the lives of those we love regardless of our age or the amount of time we have together. Jesse’s youthfulness reminds us too that there is something better on up ahead, that there is more to this life than meets the eye so we need to keep going and press on. His pain reminds us that this life is hard regardless of our age and that we need to learn how to humble ourselves and cry out to God to be rescued and to other people for help along the way because we are not alone. With God, we are never alone.

“You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me.”

Psalm 139:5-10



Michael Osthimer





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