Today the Church celebrates the birth of Saint John the Baptist.
I imagine that, as an adult, Saint John was a fairly daunting character, loud and imposing. Tradition holds that his beard was long, his clothes strange, and his diet bizarre. He was likely wild-eyed and smelly from prolonged exposure to the elements in the desert.
He seemingly had no use for comfort, appearance, or the opinion of others. He exhorted anyone who’d listen to amend their lives by straightening crooked paths, flattening mountains, and filling in valleys to make a highway for the LORD to enter in.
Saint John did exactly what he was created to do.
In some ways, I envy him. John’s mission was crystal clear, whereas mine often appears murky. His resolve to serve God was unshakable, whereas I wrestle with making good choices more frequently than I’d like to admit.
So, where’s the prophecy detailing the unquestionable purpose for my life?
Today the Psalmist declares, “I praise you, for I am wonderfully made,” and the Baltimore Catechism says we are made to know, love, and serve God in this life so we can be happy with Him in the next. (Source.)
Saint John appeared to know these truths early on. He knew who he was, to Whom he belonged, and where he was going. That knowledge freed him to radically follow God from the desert to ministry in the Jordan River, and ultimately, to Paradise.
I wonder how my life would be if, like Saint John the Baptist, I lived in the knowledge that God fashioned me with great tenderness and love in my mother’s womb.
Because, if I’m honest, I don’t always trust His word. I forget that He is good even when my choices aren’t. That His mercy and love transcend my understanding and worthiness. That I am enough simply because I am His.
God may not proclaim details regarding my life’s direction, but He does continually beckon me—gently, quietly—to commune with Him in prayer and the Sacraments. It is in this space that I begin to allow His voice to penetrate my weary heart, revealing the path that leads me ever closer to Him.
Revisit today’s Psalm. Ponder and meditate upon it. Repeat it aloud; more than once, if possible. Pray for Saint John the Baptist’s intercession that God’s Word washes you in the healing truth of who you really are.
Heather Renshaw is a writer, speaker, and uplifter on a mission to love and serve God with her husband and five children in the Pacific NW. You can learn more about her here.