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God's Precious Jewels
Have you ever felt you don't belong? It isn't true. You do belong. God created a unique place for you among His people that no one else can fill.

My heart is pounding, I feel sick and I'm sure I shouldn't have come. I just don't belong. These are some thoughts that have run through my mind. This may be hard anyone who knows me to believe, but I used to suffer from anxiety and fear at the thought of going to church or a large group activity.

Have you ever felt that you just don't belong? You arrive at a meeting or social event and feel awkward and out of place. If you have these feelings, remember you are not alone. If you could read the minds of most of the people around you they would probably be feeling a lot of the same things you are. Often our thoughts are: I wish I felt better about myself, and I wish I belonged. The cry of our hearts is to belong.

Take heart you do belong. We belong to God our creator and to Jesus. As a result of Jesus taking our place on the cross, we belong to Him. Sometimes we take this lightly and forget for a moment the enormity of this fact. God created us because of love, for love, to be loved and to give love. God's whole motivation was and is love. God created us for community and His desire from creation is to dwell with us, to meet with us, and to fellowship with us. We were not meant to be alone, and in fact, we never are. It is only when we take our eyes off Him that we falter and feel alone.

Let's take a look back to creation for a moment. We are in the garden in the cool of the morning and God misses Adam and Eve. It would seem that it was His habit to spend time with them. He calls, "Where are you?" Of course God knew where Adam and Eve were. He also knew they were hiding and He wanted them to come to Him. God also knew why they were hiding. Sin had entered and broken the relationship they had with God. They hid out of shame and guilt, but God doesn't want us to hide. He wants us to come to Him.

From before creation God already had a plan to restore the relationship between Himself and His creation. We see a beautiful foreshadowing of God's redemptive plan when He covered Adam and Eve's nakedness with garments of skin. This required the death of an animal—one of God's creations — perhaps a lamb. In 1 Peter 1:19-20 we read that Christ was chosen from before creation. God planned in advance the death of His Son—that's how much He loves us. If only we could begin to grasp how wide, long, high, and deep is the love of Christ (see Ephesians 3:18).

However, Satan knows and he hates this fact. If he can cause us to doubt God's love and to hide in guilt and shame, he is happy. God does not want us to hide from Him. He wants us to come to Him and has provided a way through Jesus. We are the most precious of His creation. If only we could understand, we would be able to come boldly to the throne of grace. With our eyes on Jesus we will not forget to whom we belong.

But wait there is more! We also belong to the Body of Jesus which means we belong to each other—"fellow Christians." We were created to need each other, and to be for each other. In 1 Corinthians 12:24-27 God tells us that we are a part of the Body of Jesus: " But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the Body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it" (1 Corinthians 12:24 -27 NIV).

In verse 7 of the same chapter it says we are gifted for the common good of the Body. The Body is not the same without each part. We are a gift to each other. Sometime we don't feel that way but God knows what He is doing and He doesn't make mistakes. Each part is needed to make the whole Body. We need the young, the old, the musical, and the brainy, and we need you. We need those who are challenged mentally and physically, we need the sick and the healthy, the rich and the poor. The bottom line is we need each other.

God has a purpose for each one of us. Please don't doubt Him and the worth He places in each one of us. Unfortunately, when we compare ourselves with each other we damage relationships. When we feel either inferior or superior we hurt something we all desperately need—intimacy with each other.

When I watched the movie, The Passion of the Christ, I was not only deeply moved by what Jesus did for us, and how much love it took, I began to catch a glimpse of the love of the Father for us. That He could step aside and allow his Son to be hurt and humiliated, and give His life for us is so far beyond my comprehension.

When we doubt how precious we are to God we do Him a disservice …

Ephesians 3:19 says this love surpasses knowledge, and I feel that I am perhaps catching a glimpse of it. The Father is both stern and tender, correcting us and yet holding us safely in His hands. The Bible is filled with examples that describe His nature. One of my favourites is recorded in Exodus 33. In this chapter we read that God is very angry with Israel and yet still speaks to Moses as a friend. This example of a tender and caring God overwhelms me. He covers Moses with His hand and grants Moses' request to see His glory. He will do the same for us, gently protecting us while He allows us glimpses of His wonder, if we only have eyes to see.

Our Father considers us His precious jewels. In Exodus 19:5 (NKJV) God refers to His people as His special treasure, and in Malachi 3:17 (NKJV) as "My Jewels." When we doubt how precious we are to God we do Him a disservice and don't properly appreciate what He has done for us. I like to think that we are the precious jewels that decorate the Holy City in Revelation 21:19. It helps me to remember to respect others and myself if I think of us all as the precious jewels that God takes up in His hands. "'They will be mine.' Says the Lord Almighty; 'in the day when I make up my treasured possession I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him'" (Malachi 3:17).

Dorothy Nordstrom is a member of the Edmonton Worldwide Church of God congregation.

Originally published in the Northern Light Magazine, May/June 2004.




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