Who You Are
"The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: 'I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.'"1
Rev. David Tinney tells how Rabbi Marc Gafni recalled "one of the first bar mitzvahs he ever performed. It was for a boy named Louis. Louis was awkward and sad. His insensitive parents did little to encourage his self-esteem. They implied that he was too dumb to learn the traditional Hebrew passages a boy recites for his bar mitzvah.
"Rabbi Gafni was determined to bring out the best in Louis. He spent extra time teaching him the songs and prayers. He discovered that Louis was smart, and had a fantastic singing voice. On the day of his bar mitzvah, Louis performed beautifully. At the end of the ceremony, Rabbi Gafni stood and spoke directly to Louis. He said, 'Louis, this morning you met your real self. This is who you are. You are good, graceful, talented, and smart. Whatever people told you yesterday, and Louis, whatever happens tomorrow, promise me one thing. Remember … this is you. Remember, and don't ever lose it.'
"A few years later, Louis wrote to Rabbi Gafni. The boy whose parents predicted that he was too dumb to perform a traditional bar mitzvah was studying for his medical degree at an Ivy League university. He was also engaged to be married. Louis ended his letter by saying, 'I kept my promise—I always remembered my bar mitzvah morning when you said that this is who I am. For this, I thank you.'"2
Dear Reader, no matter what you have ever been told in the past, or what you have come to believe about yourself, always remember that God loves you totally with an everlasting love. He believes in you absolutely and wants you to come to him and believe in yourself in a healthy and helpful way so that you will, with his help, become all that he has envisioned for you to be, and to achieve all that he has planned for you to do.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, as you told the ancient Israelites that you loved them with an everlasting love thank you that you say the same to your followers today. Help me to experience your love and affirmation at the very core of my being so that I will be a better servant of yours in all that I am and do, and so that my life will bring glory and honor to your name. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV).
2. Marc Gafni, The Mystery of Love (New York: Atria Books, 2003), pp. 120-121. Cited on
"Saintly Sentinels," Rev. David Tinney.