I don't deserve a seven year old daughter who asked me this evening to help her find Genesis 11 so she could highlight a passage she had been taught at church. I certainly did not deserve the privilege of hearing her sing praise to our Lord in worship this weekend, nor do I deserve the blessing of hearing her state, on several occasions, her desire to be a medical missionary. I do not deserve a daughter who readily pitches in in around the house because she enjoys cleaning, nor a daughter who snuggles and plays and loves to knock me down in the middle of the floor with a hug that requires a running start from down the hall.
I don't deserve our son, age 11, who wrestles me every night and shares his grand Lego and superhero adventures with me when I come home, who comes alive in his youth group and shares his favorite Christian music artist with me. I have never deserved one minute of our countless backyard battles or basketball games, and I know I have not deserved the bicycle adventures we have ridden all over our small Indiana town.
Does any husband truly deserve his wife? I don't. How could I deserve a wife who is a friend and colleague, as capable of talking Latin grammar and Roman history with me as she is of encouraging me to attempt the myriad household repairs that I, in my scholarly nerdiness, would likely never have tried. I do not deserve a soul mate in the Christian faith who is every bit as passionate as I in loving the Lord and seeking to serve him with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength, who is committed to guiding our family in ever more faithful ways. How many unequally yoked marriages limp about our landscape? I do not deserve this.
How could I, as a child, have done anything to deserve parents who took me to church each week, who taught me the Scriptures at home, and who prayed with me, thus building in me a firm foundation for a life of Christian faith? Could I possibly have deserved a mother who instilled in me the habit of gratitude by ensuring that I wrote thank you notes, a habit that I have now continued with our own children? Could I have deserved a father who sat with my mother at every school event in which I participated or sat across the dining room table from me helping me with math homework or to study for a Latin test? Could I have deserved parents who supported my every endeavor? I could not.
I did not deserve the extraordinary teachers I was blessed to have from Kindegarten through graduate school, a fact of which I was dimly aware as a child and can now keenly appreciate as a veteran teacher.
I do not deserve a body that works well, despite my lack of careful attention to it, nor I do I deserve a mind that enjoys investigating truth in almost every field of creation. I do not deserve the ability to speak comfortably to small groups and large audiences, nor the ability to write analytical or persuasive non-fiction as well as fiction and poetry. From a young age, I wanted to be a published author, and I have been blessed to publish numerous articles and books, never once having deserved to do so.
For more than twenty years I have known the thrill and the joy of teaching students from the middle school to the undergraduate level, and I have not once deserved such an opportunity. How could one deserve the emails and notes that continue to come, even years after after students have graduate? How could I even think I deserved to have been a part of one young man's surrender to Christ or to have given another young woman away in marriage in place of her absent father? I know for a fact I have not deserved the gifts of love from students, ranging from bacon-scented toothpicks to exquisite fountain pens.
And then there is God. From the far-flung galaxies of Hubble's ultra-deep field to the infinitesimal world of quarks, God knew me before I was born and has given me...me...the gift of faith and the chance to know Him through His Son, my Lord, Jesus Christ. Atheists do not know Him. Pantheists and polytheists do not know Him. Yet I, an average suburban kid turned average suburban high school teacher/husband/father have been blessed to know the one true God of the universe. Can you believe it? I certainly never deserved such incomparable gift.
There is much that is wrong with the world around me, the world around us all. Yet this website lacks the space to contain all the blessings I have, but have not deserved.