"Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase." ~Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You Don't Know My Story...

One thing that I love about the Bible is that there is never a dull moment that lies between its pages. It may sound like a cliché, but there are many treasures waiting to be unlocked. In my study today, I found the story of a young woman named Tamar. Tamar's story is not one that we learned about in Sunday School, nor is it one that we hear often being bellowed from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. Tamar's story is important, however, to each and every woman and man who has a story that has gone untold.

I'm sure many people wondered about Tamar. I'm sure they were asking questions. "What happened to her, she used to be so beautiful?" "Why does she not mingle with others?" In the last account that I studied of Tamar tonight, I had the ever so popular picture from children's movies where there is a lady in the neighborhood that all the kids are afraid of because of all the myths and legends that they have been told about her, only to discover by a chance encounter that those things are not true at all. Here is the meat Tamar's story.

2 Samuel 13:7-20
David sent word to Tamar at the palace: "Go to the house of your brother Amnon and prepare some food for him." So Tamar went to the house of her brother Amnon, who was lying down. She took some dough, kneaded it, made the bread in his sight and baked it. Then she took the pan and served him the bread, but he refused to eat. "Send everyone out of here," Amnon said. So everyone left him. Then Amnon said to Tamar, "Bring the food here into my bedroom so I may eat from your hand." And Tamar took the bread she had prepared and brought it to her brother Amnon in his bedroom. But when she took it to him to eat, he grabbed her and said, "Come to bed with me, my sister." "Don't, my brother!" she said to him. "Don't force me. Such things should not be done in Israel! Don't do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you." But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. Then Amnon hated her with intense hatred. In fact, he hated her more than he had loved her. Amnon said to her "Get up and get out!" "No!" she said to him. "Sending me away would be a greater wrong than what you have already done to me." But he refused to listen to her. He called his personal servant and said, "Get this woman out of here and bolt the door after her. She was wearing a richly ornamented robe, for this was the kind of garment the virgin daughters of the king wore. Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornamented robe she was wearing. She put her hand on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went. Her brother Absalom said to her, "Has that Amnon, you brother, been with you? Be quiet now, my sister, he is your brother. Don't take this thing to heart." And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom's house, a desolate woman.

Can you envision Tamar standing before you, broken into a million pieces? Her body, heart, and spirit were probably throbbing in pain all because of the selfish desires of a family member. You see, Amnon desired to have Tamar so, that he became frustrated and ill. (verse 2) Tamar was a beautiful virgin with the intent to stay that way until she would be married off. Her intent was to keep her purity and to be ready for her future husband. She ended up in a situation that she had little to no control over.

In Biblical times, a woman would remain desolate, not married off, if she was "used". What this means is that she was no longer a virgin. So, there Tamar sat for years, alone and bewildered because she not only had been used, but also was unable to tell her story because she was embarrassed and knew she would be isolated. In turn, she decided to desolate herself from society, in hopes of saving herself from more shame and hurt. And, she felt as though even those that should love her and understand her story the most, didn't.

There are many Tamars walking around today. Many people's souls have been broken, battered, and abused and have been left with the bewilderment of what happened to them. Not all have been raped like Tamar was, but I'm sure they have been left with scares where they have attempted to patch up their hurting souls.

I am a Tamar.

Just like Tamar, we all have a story that other people just simply don't know about. These stories have brought us closer to Christ because they are the situations and circumstances that we have strived so hard for so long to overcome. These are the scars that God keeps hidden so that when people look at us, we don't look like what we've been through! Some of us may live more boldly than Tamar did and choose to tell our story one day. Some of us won't. So, before we judge a person's decisions or actions, let us remember that each of us has a story that someone else doesn't know. That story has been a chapter in our life that God has used to shape and mold us into who we are today, and who He wants us to be tomorrow. When you look at what a person may have, or does not have; who they are or who they aren't; please remember... YOU DON'T KNOW THEIR STORY.....

                                                              Spiritual Reflections

1. What are some things about my story that others may not know?

2. How have I dealt with the issues listed above?

3. How can I see God’s presence in my unknown story?

4. What role will these issues play in my future spiritual growth?

5. Talk to God about your unknown story. Praise Him or ask questions. If you have unresolved issues, ask God to help you with them. He is available for you!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! I have chosen you to receive The Best Blog award!
    Here is a link to the rules:
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    I have been both entertained and inspired by your blog. Keep on blogging, and please check out my Jan. 30st post for a list of other blogs I feel worthy of the title Best Blog. May God bless you!
    Dr. T.L. Sanderfer