by Gary Hein, and CCPC Executive Pastor
Do you have a spiritual hero?
Someone who has walked with Jesus before you and inspires you to continue the faith race as described in Hebrews 12:1-2:
“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”
I was first introduced to Lydia Sarian, Susan’s grandmother, when we were engaged. She was 89 years old when I first met her and she would become one of my spiritual heroes. She was a woman of faith who tirelessly served and prayed for her family.
Listening to her story, I was numb and grieved as I leaned about the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians by the Turkish government from 1915-1920. She survived this violent time and moved with her new husband to become a Christian missionary in Egypt. Her sons grew up as the only Christians in a Muslim school and eventually they immigrated to the USA.
As is common for someone who endures trauma, much of the pain of her life was left unsaid. It prompted me to ask her, “What is the secret to finishing well the faith journey? I have much before me. How have you stayed firm in your faith all these years through these trials?”
In essence, she said to me, ‘Gary, you make a choice every day to trust the Lord’. It was a simple answer. Coming from anyone else I would have dismissed it as making light of the trials we face in this world. From her, I quickly came to believe that her uncomplicated faith journey was sustained by a daily a choice. Will I choose every day to find rest in God?
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
Sometimes I can overanalyze my situation or my emotions when I just need to trust in Him. Lydia’s simple message to me was to trust in Him and not be shaken.
A few years after I met Lydia, my daughter was born. Susan and I decide to name her after my spiritual hero and last month I had the pleasure of walking Rebecca Lydia Hein down the aisle to be married.
My prayer for her and me is: Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
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Jesus is the answer to lasting hope in this time, and we can live unafraid.
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