Good Life

Clergy: Learning from history

Norm Hooven
Norm Hooven Photo provided

“If ... then” is a common theme in scripture and one it seems we have to constantly repeat. It’s as if we are blinded to the reality of poor choices, yet all we have to do is touch a hot stove one time and we learn not to do that anymore. If only all life lessons were as easy and predictable.

Jesus Christ died for us all, even the ones who, reading this right now, are livid because I mentioned the name “God” in a liberal format reaching all who read it, regardless of belief. How dare I mention his name and use it in the context of salvation for all who accept by faith that Jesus died for you.

There is a predictable outcome for writing this. To say there is a Judeo-Christian God challenges those who do not believe that. It is scandalous and elicits a “how dare I express my belief through this public venue” reaction. Sure, many don’t believe, refuse to believe, can’t comprehend, can’t get beyond their intellect or their pride. Hear me please — pride is the biggest obstacle to God. It closes the heart and mind, period, end of story. If I espouse my beliefs as informed by the Bible, I’m labeled intolerant, prejudiced or worse. So where does that come from? Your pride, not mine.

Once I was blind but now I’m not. The lessons I learned were hard fought, but there was no victory in them because I kept falling in the same hole — different location, same hole.

I was at the bottom looking up and powerless to change on my own. I reached out and Jesus grabbed me. He took me out of the hole and put me on solid ground — increased my possibilities exponentially, healed my heart and renewed my soul.

He can do the same for anyone who reaches out and receives the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Don’t allow your pride or someone else’s opinion (no matter whose it is) stop you from reaching out. This is about you.

In the Old Testament we are given the story of the Exodus. There are many modern lessons we can learn from our ancient fathers if we’d only see them.

The most tragic one is disbelief and pride that kept an entire generation from entering the land God had brought them out of Egypt to inherit. Disbelief kept them from experiencing a life only God could give them — a life filled with challenges, rewards, blessings and peace. It wouldn’t be easy nor perfect, but placed in his hands led to eternal life. And while it was a shadow of our inheritance in Jesus, it’s because of their life choices we aren’t doomed to repeat them if we choose not to, we can learn from history, we can choose differently. Which way will we go — same road, same hole or take a different road?

The Rev. Norm Hooven can be reached at revnorm@