A birthday cheesecake courtesy of my brother Aaron to a special 17-year-old.
When I came home from school, 16 years and 9 months ago, and found a little baby in my house, I did not know then that God has great plans ahead for the two of us. Two hundred and one months later, though we are not blood-related, our lives are still linked together, and we would both be far away from our home.
As a birthday celebration, I thought I would look up stories of young men and women in the Bible who had to go through seasons of their lives away from their homeland. Many of them were taken to foreign lands against their will. Even so, they lived remarkable lives and were vessels used mightily by God. Here are their stories:
As a young boy, Joseph was sold as a slave by his brothers. He spent many years in jail; falsely accused and forgotten by the people he helped. However, we now see the hand of God on Joseph’s live, and how he rose to the top and became Pharaohâ€™s right hand man. Because of Joseph, many lives were saved – including his own family.
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
These young men were taken into captivity to Babylon. They probably had to learn foreign stuff, e.g., languages, custom, law, knowledge base. However, they did not compromise their faith. They too rose up to great ranks and did many great things.
This beautiful young woman, too, was taken away from her home. She was placed in a palace and later became a Queen. Yet, she did not forget her people and her God. At a very difficult time, she risked her life to save her people.
This young woman, chosen to carry the Son of God in her womb, had to leave home with Joseph and spent years away to save her baby from the ruler of the land.
I am sure all of them missed their home, i.e., family, friends, food, and familiar sights and sounds. Even though some of them were placed in palaces, I am sure they all suffered hardships, e.g., being in a different culture, being misunderstood, sticking out like a sore thumb. I am sure they wondered why this had happened to them. I am sure they wished that something would happen so that they could return home. Although they did suffer being away from home, it was not in vain. God was still in control. He was always with them. By being faithful, they allowed God to do great things through them.
Besides the just-for-your-imagination birthday cheesecake, this is my gift to the birthday girl:
My son (or daughter), do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.
(Proverbs 3: 1-6)
Happy Birthday, Natalie!