Know Who You Are

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jeremiah 31:33-34 esv

My ex-wife introduced my forever wife (Meldie) to me. Before doing so, my ex had purposely warned me, like the foreshadowing of an event, of just how beautiful she was to lay eyes upon.

“I have to warn you: Meldie is gorgeous!”

Sometimes, I have to pause and reflect on this truth like a well literized poem.

I’ve yet to fully understand poetry, though. So, let’s not pause here for too long.

Anyway, what is interesting about this, to me, is that my ex has only done this once in the twenty-plus years that I’ve known her. I met my ex wife in 1999. We married in 2001 and we divorced in 2005. We have a child together, we ran a business together and we have lived together, off and on, quite a few times along the way. It should go without saying that my ex and I know a lot of mutual people – maybe half of which are women. Regardless, Meldie, my forever wife, was the only person that came with a pre-introduction warning.

At the time, Meldie was mentoring my ex wife through the written Word (the Bible). They knew each other through Church. Almost immediately after being paroled from the penitentiary, my ex found a Church and was baptized by water. She informed me, by phone, that she was “born again and following Jesus”.

“Great.”, I thought. “Maybe Jesus can help you pay child support, then?”

I knew nothing about Jesus, back then. Plus, truth be told, I really didn’t need any money from her. And, I knew that my ex was starting over from scratch. Our daughter and I were living together in my parents basement, at the time, and we were well cared for. I worked, sometimes, and smoked crack, more times. Yet, my parents were carrying me through my role as a parent like an Army medic carries a wounded warrior off the battlefield.

A Judge had ordered my daughter and I to live there, with them, when she was six years old. When she turned twelve, we were still living there.

I was completely miserable, in those days. My ex wife’s newly found Path served more as a nuisance, to me, than a beacon of Light in the darkness. I projected that her future accomplishments would shine bright – highlighting my utter failure as a man and, more importantly, as a father. My parents were aware of my addiction; they knew that I needed help. Regardless, having come from the background that I experienced in my early adult life, I recoiled from “help” like flesh from the flame. I rejected any mention of it. I knew that I was beyond any human aid. Nonetheless, I did not know where to turn and I knew that a turn had to be made.

A few months after my daughter’s twelfth birthday, my parents (and daughter) had had enough. Collectively, they kicked me out. I had no money, no clean clothes and less than a quarter tank of gas in my car. Not knowing where to turn, I called my ex wife to let her know what was going on. She surprised me with her response.

“I know it isn’t the ideal situation, but, you can live here until you figure things out. I will wire you gas money to get here.”

I knew that I had no other choice.

After spending the money that she wired to me, on crack, she wired me a little bit more. A day later, after spending that money too, she drove to me, put gas in my car and I followed her home.

Five months later, after watching me sink hopelessly into the mire of addiction, my ex wife and her mother asked me to move out, too.

Regardless, God calls me by a new name today.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.

Psalm 139:1-6 esv

**********

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

Matthew 16:13-17 esv

In the beginning of Matthew 16 (esv), Jesus was asked by the Sadducees and Pharisees (Jewish Religious/Political Sects) to “show them a sign”. Yet, Jesus, through a parable, explained that He was the Sign. Then, He left them and departed from there with His disciples.

You see, Jesus spoke in parables to everyone but the chosen twelve (disciples). To them only, He taught the meaning of His parables. Later on in this chapter {Matt. 16:13-17}, Jesus asked His disciples, directly, “But who do you say that I am?”. Simon Bar-Jonah answered Him correctly. Then, Jesus praised His answer and explained that upon him, Simon (now) Peter (in Aramaic = Stone), the Rock of His Church would be built. He further proclaimed that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” {Matt.16:18}. Not only did Jesus change His name (God changes the names of His people all throughout Scripture) to reflect how He sees him (the Rock of the Church), but He praises the very answer that Peter gave.

Then, a few verses later, Jesus calls Simon Peter, “Satan”, and He tells him to “get behind Me”.

Geesh… talk about a rollercoaster of events. Can you imagine being Simon Peter in that conversation? From “Rock” to “Satan” in only a few verses. He went on to deny Jesus three times, just as Jesus foretold, too {John 18:13-27}. Think about that for a minute or two.

Yet, Jesus still saw him as “the Rock”.

Now, think about how “they” beat, tortured and killed Jesus. Then, five hundred people witnessed His resurrected body. Most of His disciples (minus John) are believed to be martyred, in His name, too. Christianity, or “His Church” was outlawed, at the time, yet His Truth has spread like wildfire.

My friend, your past has no bearing on how God sees you. Even now, with the things that you currently struggle with, God sees us (believers) only through the Veil of His beloved Son.

Do you KNOW Jesus? If you can believe on Him, and toss your past/present/future onto the Cross, pick it back up as His resurrected victory, and follow Him – God will call you by a new name, as well. Here, let me skip ahead in YOUR story and give you a glimpse at what He will call you:

You are: Loved!

Do you know that?

As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love.

John 15:9
Today, I enjoy going outdoors with Meldie in search of His handiwork. We captured this photo earlier this week.
This one, too.

Published by rrlgabriel

R.L. Gabriel is a US Army Airborne Combat Medic (veteran), former drug addict, father, husband, construction worker and follower of Jesus. He writes with an uncommon honesty while chronicling his past and describing how he walks by faith. His self reflecting memoirs will be published weekly. He lives in the American Midwest with his beautiful wife Meldie. Together, they host and tend to a diverse group of backyard critters while raising an indoor goldfish named Petey.

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