A “Defining Moment” is defined as an event which typifies or determines all subsequent related occurrences. I believe we all have defining moments. From our perspective, some times they are intentional and other times unintentional. I believe they are minimal, impactful, and inevitable. Above all, I believe they are master teachers and in many cases, they will help to define you. To that end, I encourage you to frequent your defining moment(s). Analyze and evaluate every detail. Learn from them as principles, benefits, and blessings are embedded in these moments. Like seeds planted in the ground, these benefits will need to be watered every time you meditate on these moments. And, every time you visit these moments, they’ll continue to define you as you will notice new and different things.
Let me share with you a defining moment that has had a lasting impact on my life. It was the sickness and death of my father. Before I share the details of this defining moment, you’ll need to know that I already had determined, in my mind, that I wouldn’t be able to function with the death of a parent. What it meant to be a Christian or spiritual seemed like it would all go out the window; after all - my parents were a major reason why I was a Christian. Christianity was my parents’ religion. Christ wasn’t really mine….I believed in him because my parents believed in him. I trusted him because my parents trusted him. I didn’t really have a reciprocal relationship with him. All of that would change during my defining moment! This moment would begin in the month of January of 2002. I entered the hospital room and my parents had already received the news. A few minutes after I sat down, my father said, “Son, I have cancer.” My whole world stopped and we sat quietly for the next thirty minutes. Little did I know that this “defining moment” would last to June 15, 2002. Listen carefully — the strategically placed seeds of blessings are too numerous to detail in this post, however, we’ll deal with a few and the remainder will be articulated in future posts. You’re probably pondering the phrase “strategically placed” now. If so, good observation! I do believe God entered into this “defining moment” and planted seeds of blessings that would eventually be realized and appreciated. By now, I’m pretty sure you’ve noticed that I’ve extended the definition of “defining moment”. In addition to the above definition, I’ve added that it defines you and also alluded to a super-natural element as I believe God intervened in my present example that I’m sharing. I submit to you that defining moments are most valuable because I believe God strategizes and moves in these moments. Now, let’s continue the example — the biblical accounts we learned in Sunday school, that emphasized God’s greatness, just seemed like distant stories now. I grew to a point where I challenged God; the sermon “Your Arms Are Too Short To Box With God” meant nothing to me….I challenged him anyway….and here is one of the seeds (blessings) — He let me! What comes to mind (as I’ve had time to look back on this moment multiple times) is the account of Jacob wrestling God. I’d say, “You gave Hezekiah 15 more years! Surely, you can heal my father!” “Daniel and the lion’s den, 3 Hebrew boys and the fiery furnace, Lazarus raised from the dead! Surely you can heal my father!” But….there was no healing. My father’s health continued to get weaker. Weakness became a major theme through this process. My father’s physical health was weak, yet his spirit was strong as ever! My physical health was strong as I took interest in physical fitness, yet, my spirit was weak! I spent all my nights with him and slept in the same room with him most nights. He’d constantly feed my spirit those nights. I couldn’t see it at the time but God was working through him. My father always had incredible timing with his words of encouragement and being inspirational. One particular night, it would be no different as he asked me, “Son, how’s your spirit?” I said, “huh?”. He said, “How are you spiritually?” I strained my eyes and said, “I’m fine.” He looked at me and raised his eyebrow (imagine “the Rock” when he raises his eyebrow, then magnify the intensity times infinity and you’ll have a perfect mental image of my father - lol). He said, “Son, it will be hard at first, when I leave, but, you’ll be alright after awhile.” This was one of the many nights God was reaching out to me (to my spirit) through my father’s weakness, yet, simultaneously through his spirit! Praise - Break — Only God can use strength and weakness in the same moment, at the same time in order to teach and heal! Glory!!! Ok, let us continue. I didn’t know it at the time, but, this wrestling match with God was my first hand experience of 2 Corinthians 12:8-9. No longer did this scripture belong to its author - Paul, it was becoming mine. I brought confusion, anger and ignorance to this wrestling match. God brought grace! For a moment, I could clearly see God’s attempt (in the spirit) to reach me and grow our relationship because of my father’s faith. It meant a lot that he had faith in me to know and believe that I’d eventually be alright. Remember, I’d already determined the death of a parent would not allow me to function. What was God doing?……….He was defining me!
By Darryl Smith