A Guest Post by Mr. Jimmy Oquinn
Keith’s Note: I have known James “Jimmy” Oquinn for about 43 or 44 years. I have always known Jimmy to be a man high ideals and sound ethical and spiritual ideals. He and his wife Cindy have done much in the life of their church including what I believe is, if not the most thankless job in the life of the church, it is in the top five, youth ministry. But what I also know is, in that youth work, over several years, God gave them the opportunity to touch the lives of many young people. I know they felt blessed in that work, because Jimmy and Cindy (known to us as CJ) are not just friends, Jimmy and CJ are my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Jimmy is my Cindy’s oldest brother. For a few months, before Cindy and I got married but after they did, there were two people around the family dinner table named Cindy Oquinn. Oh that was so much fun (he says in words dripping with sarcasm). Jimmy and CJ are members at First Baptist Church in Pasadena, Texas. Enjoy a few words from my friend and brother-in-law, Jimmy Oquinn.
(A note before we start: I currently study from the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible). I use a variety of English translations and will be paraphrasing scripture. Please look up the scripture references in your favorite translation.)
9 Hannah got up after they ate and drank at Shiloh. Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord’s tabernacle. 10 Deeply hurt, Hannah prayed to the Lord and wept with many tears. 11 Making a vow, she pleaded, “Lord of Hosts, if You will take notice of Your servant’s affliction, remember and not forget me, and give Your servant a son, I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and his hair will never be cut.”
12 While she continued praying in the Lord’s presence, Eli watched her lips. 13 Hannah was praying silently, and though her lips were moving, her voice could not be heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and scolded her, “How long are you going to be drunk? Get rid of your wine!”
15 “No, my lord,” Hannah replied. “I am a woman with a broken heart. I haven’t had any wine or beer; I’ve been pouring out my heart before the Lord. 16 Don’t think of me as a wicked woman; I’ve been praying from the depth of my anguish and resentment.”
17 Eli responded, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant the petition you’ve requested from Him.” (1 Samuel 1:9-17, Holman Christian Standard Bible)
I have served in various lay positions throughout my life. God is still working on me- I have a lot to learn. I enjoy sharing my thoughts. I believe Jesus Christ is who He says He is: “…the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 HCSB). I have no formal theological training. I work scheduling projects for a contractor at refineries, petrochemical plants and power plants.
I like the idea of pondering. Not meditating. Not studying. Pondering. Wandering through the possibilities. What if…
How did they…
How did this happen…
Let’s look at 6 people in the Old and New Testaments:
Hannah Hagar Jonah
The Hebrews Jesus Peter
What do they have in common?
They are people, human beings, just like you and me.
They appear to have little in common. They come from different areas, times, stations in life. Their ages and sexes are varied. Their geo-political backgrounds are different.
What did they do that was ‘good’?
Hannah was a good wife.
Hagar served her mistress well.
Jonah was God’s prophet.
The Hebrews were God’s people.
Peter was Jesus’ disciple.
Jesus is God’s Son.
Good people living their versions of a good life. In 2020, in the USA, we would call it “living the American dream”. So, why were they crying?
Hannah cried as she prayed for a son at the tabernacle. In 1 Samuel Hannah went with her husband, Elkanah, to the tabernacle. The priest, Eli, saw her praying and scolded her for being drunk. Hannah and Eli talked, they parted amicably and in verse 18 of 1 Samuel (HCSB) “…she ate and no longer looked despondent.”.
Hagar cried as she prayed for deliverance for Ishmael and herself in the desert. In Genesis 21 Sarah is jealous of Ishmael and asks Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael- Abraham’s son- away. Hagar and Ishmael are sent away and Hagar stops in the desert expecting to die. In verse 16 “…she wept loudly.” An angel shows Hagar a water well and the way out of the desert.
Jonah cried out as he prayed from the belly of the fish for forgiveness- a second chance. Jonah ran from God and the job God assigned to him.
The Hebrews cried out to God for deliverance while in Egypt.
Peter cried because he was disappointment to his Rabbi and himself.
Jesus cried for Jerusalem. Jesus is God’s Son. All God and all man. In Luke chapter 19 we find Luke’s account of the triumphal entry followed by Jesus crying. Those Jesus came to save did not recognize nor accept Him- instead they tried to destroy Him. I believe He cried for all humanity- including me.
Each of the people above went through valleys in their lifetimes. Times when life was not as expected. Things did not work out as anticipated. The world was not as it appeared to be. The plan failed. The world was upside down.
Does this sound familiar? Every human will experience disappointment, failure, hardship, sorrow and/or fatigue on the journey we call life. Everyone cries.
They cried for the same reasons we cry. Everyone cries. But they did not just cry.
They prayed. They called out to God. They waited. They suffered the consequences of their choices and actions.
Then they got up and moved. They acted.
Hannah ate and cleaned up.
Hagar followed the angel.
The Hebrews packed up and moved.
Jesus followed God’s plan- even though he did not want to (Matthew 22:39).
The good news is the story did not end with crying.
Hannah had a son, Samuel. Samuel was raised in the tabernacle with Eli and anointed the first king (Saul- 1 Samuel 9 and 10) and second king (David- 1 Samuel 16) of Israel.
Hagar is led by an angel to water. She and Ishmael settled in the Wilderness of Paran, Ishmael’s descendants becoming the Islamic nations. His family is recorded in Genesis 25
Jonah was God’s prophet. When he preached in Nineveh the city repented and was spared from destruction. In Jonah 4, God reminds Jonah how important people are to Him.
The Hebrews were God’s people. The Hebrews originally went into Egypt as Jacob’s family of about seventy people to escape famine in their homeland (Genesis 46 and following chapters). Over the course of four hundred years the Egyptian pharaohs, concerned that the Hebrews would take over the country, enslaved the Hebrews. The Hebrews cried out to God for deliverance in Exodus 2:23. The Hebrews are now known as the nation of Israel.
Peter is Jesus’ disciple. He was part of Jesus’ inner circle. Jesus had even renamed him Cephas, the “Rock”. In the evening Peter tells Jesus that others will deny Him but not Peter, ““Lord,” he told Him, “I’m ready to go with You both to prison and to death!”” (Luke 22:33 HCSB). Before daylight Peter denies Jesus three times. He goes out by himself and cries. (Luke 22:62). Peter wrote part of the Bible as we know it today. Peter ministered in Jerusalem but also traveled to Antioch after Christ’s ascension.
Jesus was triumphantly entering Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. The city typically was flooded with the faithful- and the Romans watching. The high priest and Sanhedrin wanted Jesus killed. Jerusalem at Passover appeared to be a festival. Jesus is crucified, dies, is buried and raised again on the third day. Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior reconciles us to God. We can approach the Throne of God. Jesus is at the right hand of God- interceding for us.
The bottom line here- through my pondering- is a good cry serves its purpose but praying starts the process of getting things done. Wait on God’s timing. Then get up, refocus and move forward.
The corona virus, travel restrictions, economy, weather, what others think or believe, prejudices or any other deterrents in their respective times and locations did not stop the people above. If they changed the world so can I.
Seeking the Genuine