I grew up in rural SA, the second son of a struggling farmer. He struggled to pay the debt on his farm and with a dysfunctional marriage. In our home, love was scarce, very scarce, almost non existent. I grew up as a silent rebel, just hating to be alive. I could not understand what I am doing on earth? I was a misfit, as I was taught no social graces.
Besides it all, I was not an oil painting, as my mother used to imply. Anyway, as life is (and God planned without me knowing), in some way the miracle happened. I met a girl that I went to school with, a young woman desperate to get married. Actually, to be honest, her mother and half-sister were desperate. They wanted her married, didn’t matter to whom. It was regarded as too much of a shame to remain a spinster in that community. She (Alida) did not think it was such a crisis. It seemed perfectly ‘normal’ to be a school teacher with a dog. I prevailed, and finally she decided to exchange me for her beloved dog. Which is why I am a married man.
We dated for three months and got married in July 1970. At that stage my relationship with my father was not that bright. When I told him I was getting married, he objected that she was too old (twenty-four, and only three months younger than I [thanks for that thin edge]). He then went to my future father-in-law and warned him that his daughter was making a big mistake. I was a rebel and the black sheep of the family. Also, my then professor had his doubts since he had no confidence in me.
Today, 44 years later, we are still together. We are happily married, work together, love each other, and enjoy the children and grandchildren. In case you wonder, I am an expert in the theory of changing nappies. I have just not progressed to the practical application yet. I first have to pass the theoretical, with which I am busy. My only concern is that the eleventh and last grandchild will be out of nappies before I have managed it. Such a pity that I might miss out!
With my story in mind, be careful before you judge. You might just be surprised. Jesus specialises in ‘difficult cases.’ He loves the rebellious, confused and angry ones. He changed me completely, from a severely mixed up kid to ‘normal.’ Long ago, while I was still filled with hatred against my father and my circumstances, I used to say that there is only one who can change me, and that is God (fancy a person who knew nothing about God saying that). God heard, and told the Holy Spirit to get me. He did. Today I believe there are many rebels out there, and God is willing, waiting and wanting to get hold of them. Let us not judge too early, but keep on praying and expressing confidence in them.