I am a lifelong disciple of Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth, an avid student of the Bible, a devoted husband and father, a 29-year veteran of the United States Army, and a historian who connects people with their own stories.
Everyone is a statistic. It would be best if we were all “good” statistics, meaning law-abiding, God-fearing citizens contributing to their families and communities in positive ways. However, we all fall into the category of “bad” statistics at some point in our lives, and some people never leave that category. Why is that?
In this concluding segment of our visit with Kennedy Rios and Susie Boyle, we probe into that question. Kennedy is working hard to achieve the dreams she has found for her life, but that’s not always the case for people who have come through the challenges she and her siblings have faced. What has made the difference? Kennedy offers some observations from her experience that shed light on that question.
The music of Jimmie Black and Rut Banks powerfully illustrates the life lessons we hear from Kennedy, and from Barry Phillips and David Jones. They examine the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives in a midrash they call “Let the Wind Blow Gideon.”
It’s easy – too easy – to write people off as lost causes when it seems that God is judging them. If it is judgment, then it may be such people are simply suffering the natural consequences of poor choices. But what if the people suffering the most are not the ones who made those choices? And what if those natural consequences doom them to make those same choices and perpetuate the cycle? Do we let them perish, or do we break into their suffering somehow, at least to ease their pain, even if they never find the path to redemption?
Did you ever wonder how many children in your neighborhood might be in need of help? There are probably quite a few, signaling their needs in ways even they don’t understand. It takes some attention, compassion, and discernment to identify those signals, and then it takes courage, love, and patience, to offer help.
We heard about this in a previous Reunion Roadmap interview with Susie Boyle, Outreach Director with Fostering the Family in South Carolina. Now we have the blessing of hearing from the child Susie and her family helped. Kennedy Rios is all grown up now and pursuing a promising future in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan. She’s got quite a story to tell of overcoming obstacles just to connect with the gifted, strong woman God made her to be. We get to hear some of that story in this two-part interview!
Kennedy’s story provides a powerful introduction to the discussion Barry Phillips and David Jones call “Pray.” If the prayers of our parents and grandparents have made a difference for good in our lives, what kind of difference are we making in the lives of our children and grandchildren? Will Spires and Teshuva help us process that question with their musical offerings.
How much do we trust God? We say we trust in Him, but how much trust do we really have when adversity comes? Maybe a better question would be, do we trust Him more than we trust in ourselves to provide the things we want when we want them? That leads to a more uncomfortable question: if God doesn’t provide in the way we expect, is He still the God we want to follow?
Numbers 8:1-12:16; Zechariah 2:10-4:7; Daniel 3:12-18; Philippians 4:12-13