Worth describes something of value. We value that on which we spend our time, energy and resources. This is a stewardship practice but I want to take a different angle for a moment.
I often run across individuals that will confide in me that they feel unworthy in God’s eyes and in their own. The world can bruise us up sometimes and if we’re not careful we can translate this experience and believe that the way we are treated determines our value. Where we especially vulnerable to this sense of a lack of worth is in our weaknesses. I ran into this again a month ago when I was studying for my HAM license. The old “tapes” and memories came out when I was struggling to comprehend the math computation and memorization. I finally lost my composure, got up from the chair, and walked outside, steaming. My anger emerged from my feelings of vulnerability. All of this is to tell you how vulnerable I felt as I regressed to the memories of worthlessness as I struggled in math at a younger age. After working through it all, I went back to studying. And by the way, I passed the exam last Saturday.
We all have places within ourselves where we can feel backed up against the wall—where the Sirens that drove Ulysses to the point of insanity, attack us. We call them demons. It doesn’t matter how much we understand what form in which they manifest. What matters is that we know that from time to time we come face to face with them. No one is exempt. It’s a part of our humanity that we are faced with which voice we’re going to listen to: the Voice of God or the voices of the demons and the source from which they came.
Think about this: Jacob in Genesis 32:10, quotes, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which you have showed to your servant….” The word, “worthy” in its Hebrew understanding means, “small or insignificant.” It is word of comparison such as between a peasant and a great king. Jacob isn’t struggling with his sense of self-worth, he has just realized the greatness of God and how insignificant his desires and plans are in light of God and God’s action in history.
When we realize God’s immanence in, around, and through us, we indeed feel overwhelmed, similar to that when we’re in the countryside and look up and see the trillions of stars decorating the carpet of the sky. Being in awe might be a better word combined with wonder.
When we realize that God is this close to us, which can be interrupted by the events of the world around us, we can feel God’s breath massaging us—in mind, body and spirit. When we realize God’s immanent presence we already know that God hears our prayers and has already responded. Worth is realized when we become conscious of the immanence of God’s Presence. What’s more wondrous, is that when we realize our worth to God, we become both joyous and humble at the same time. We don’t have to prove to anyone how cool we are. We already know because we know where “cool” comes from.
At times like this, when we’re under the COVID cloud, it seems the demons come more often. So when those demons come around harassing you, tell them to shut up, and find your prayer place and be still and know…. God is already present waiting for us to show up.
Peace be with you,