The Prize

“Son, you’re now perfect.” The voice that was speaking to me was familiar in a way that causes a baby to stop crying when it hears the voice of its mother. But its message was completely unexpected. To an observing, intelligent, reasonably articulate person, I was completely discombobulated in my personal appearance and career performance.
 
I had been weeping for the last 30 minutes like a pregnant woman who is groaning at birth, mighty rivers of tears of repentance had cascaded down my face, cutting through my granite rock-like self-will, similar to the actions of the Colorado River forming the mighty fractured breach revealing a Grand Canyon of emptiness waiting for the redemption of His perfect will.
 
I am also aware that God chooses those persons of great resolve and capacity to bear the great volume of His objective. The recent revelation of my own narcissistic intentions woven in my own heart had taught me the necessity of crushing into powder my ever-present titanium will. This. I was finally convinced, was totally impossible for me ~ by my will own or actions to accomplish ~ so I finally turned it over to Him.
 
To some this may sound easy, and I must admit they are right. But when you place personal accomplishments, intelligence (no matter how it is obtained), and of course the greatest obstacle of all, pride, it becomes the rarest of all objectives that mankind can seek ~ and that is: perfection.
 
When my wife Sandy gave birth to our daughter Rocki Starr, she had been in labor for 8 hours. It was so intense to my sympathy pains that I could not face the groanings of labor with her. In a nearby hospital waiting room my fist pounded despairingly against the wall (where I am sure the plaster is probably still weak today). Oh the joy that was set before us in the fact that the beautiful little girl was our child!
 
As Sandy and I looked upon her face we saw elements of Sandy’s cuddling love in Rocki’s tiny smile, and traces of my choir directing skills in the motions of her craftily moving delicate hand. It came to me to name her Rocki Starr (memorializing her call to music). When Sandy and I saw a reflection of our personal attributes we knew she was an excellent mixture of us ~ “Perfection”. 
 
When gold is purified the goldsmith can see his own reflection in the gold like a mirror. This was why the Lord’s message to the Laodicean church of the last age was, “Buy of Me the gold that is tried in the fire.” You will find that fire is important.
 
Our second child was unique and different in every way ~ and our little angel was born premature. The labor was much shorter and when the tiny angel came out in the loving doctor’s steady hands, she was still in the unbroken water sack like an egg. Ancient religious insightful ones called this, a “veil born” baby.
 
I was familiar with the term because my mother, who was the founding pastor of our church in San Francisco, was also a veil-born baby. So we named her Misty (which means “to be covered”) and her middle name Déjà Vu (which means “we have been here before”).
 
And like I said, she was completely different from her sister in every way ~ but such an expression of our union as husband and wife! With the tiny 4.7 pound princess quietly sleeping on my chest I could see the traces of every feature of my wife and myself ~ down to the way she breathed when she slept. She was “perfect.”
 
My son had an astonishingly different story, for his birth was full of joy and revelry because we had two beautiful daughters but now we had a son. At the time I was personally struggling with many inherent difficulties that were a part of my personality. So when it came to the point of giving him a name, the last thing I wanted was a “mini me.” The struggle with my personal imperfections was overwhelming me. I just could not bring myself to name him a “junior,” so I chose to name him the bright Christian son of the lion, “Sunny San Yves” (my name Richard means “the lionhearted”).
 
Thirty years later it has gobsmacked me how totally complete the simple action of naming our children has been guiding our family to a place of maturity and fulfillment. My son has the physique of a model, while I have been plagued all of my adult life with being overweight. When I was a young man in my father’s house, my dad and my older brother would always mock me as a quitter and this personal flaw tormented me in my early days. But none of my children have inherited this flaw, especially my son who is known for his wisdom and steadfastness.
 
Sandy and I realized that God had made from our mix of DNA perfect specimens of us so our children were “perfect” (though each one was remarkably and uniquely different). Wow! What a unique revelation that man’s idea of perfection is to be without flaws, but God’s expectation and realization of perfection encompasses a whole deeper wisdom in freshness, uniqueness, and individuality.         
 
All this contemplation occurred to me while I was slumped down in my front row seat of the church I pastor, “A Place To Meet Jesus,” and the voice I heard in my heart was the Lord Himself. I heard that voice before when He told me He would stop the rain in Africa, and He did it four days in a row. 120 members of my congregation that had traveled with me to Africa witnessed it.
 
Like the young shepherd boy David, who by the power of the Lord had killed a lion and bear that were trying to eat his helpless sheep ~ the same voice from God was telling David that he could slay the giant Goliath. I also had come to personally know the voice of the Lord in my heart, and now that voice was telling me, “Son, you’re perfect”. But more importantly to the congregational members that were in church around me, was the fact that I heard the Lord say, “The funding will be in the bank to pay off the church’s mortgage”. And the repossessors were already at the door of our church!
 
Through the prophets God has spoken publicly to our church over last few years and said that He was going to remove us from the bondage of being in debt. And what I realized through this process was that the removing of debt was much more than just financial management ~ just as removing slavery from America was much more than the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation document. To the despair of Abraham Lincoln 600,000 young American men had to die.
 
Through much of my professional life I have known personally, ghostwritten books for, and have intimately questioned many famous men of God about the question of truly hearing His voice in a time of great crisis. This lifelong search became a personal inquisition and caused me to even question my own intellect and it’s ability to comprehend such a great concept of God’s view of “perfection”.
 
At this point, still slumped down in my church seat, I closed my eyes, cuddled the presence of the Lord like a little boy, and felt the warm glow of His glory.  It was then I knew everything was going to just be all right.                     
 
Then I remembered why we find that fire is important ~ for fire is the purifier.
 
Pastor Richard Gazowsky
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By Gazowsky

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