By Hannah Terry
FAM of Westbury UMC, Houston, TX
First, read Galatians 2:20
“You’re nothing. You’ll never be successful. You’re an orphan.” When Samson was eight years old, his father died. At this young age, he was left to care for his four siblings as his mother is mentally retarded. Despising neighbors would hurl stigmatizing words at Samson daily. Words of hurt. Words seeking to drain power and curse all life in Samson.
When Samson was eighteen and his family was near death by starvation, he joined a three year program that envisioned the life Christ could live through him. ZOE is an international ecumenical organization empowering orphans to start their own businesses while in Christian community with other orphans to become financially secure and sustainable.
Today in the beautiful hills of northern Kenya, Samson lives a life that has turned words of curse to words of life. He owns a cow, 5 goats, 2 rabbits, and he has built his family a starter home on land that he rents. He has plans to build buy land and build a larger house for the his family, including community orphans that he has adopted. All Kenyan neighbors know Samson’s successful tree seedling business, have come to admire him, and even send children to him to be mentored.
When I met Samson, I was struck by how he is a blessing to others. He told me about how he used to attend Sunday school before joining ZOE but didn't realize that God could actually touch his life. That God in Christ would come to him through relationships with others. That the presence of Christ in community could and would transform his life. He beamed while saying, “I know that I can trust God!”
Now because Christ lives through Samson, he lives compassionately and cares deeply for those treated unjustly. He intentionally employs old women and women who are discriminately unemployed and need to provide for their children.
Samson has been crucified with Christ and it is no longer orphan Samson who lives, but God’s son Christ who lives in him. And the life that Samson now lives in the body, he lives by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loves him and gave himself for him.
Prayer: Almighty God, Thank you for the life and witness of our brother Samson. Please heal the places in my life where words of curse have been hurled, too - and please replace those words with words of life through Jesus Christ. May I joyfully discover the power of Christ in me and through me and in others and through others today. Amen.
- What strikes me most about Samson’s story?
- How does my story connect with Samson’s?
- What does it look like for Christ’s power and life to replace my own today?