Daily Devotional for June 16, 2022

Whenever I travel, Shannon always packs my suitcase.  I’ve never asked her to, but according to her, she must because it’s in the Bible, even though I’ve never been able to find it.
The problem with Shannon packing my bags is she wants me to be prepared for any occasion.  This includes snow, tsunamis, hurricanes, Armageddon, and Canada invading the United States.  She even packs an outfit for me to wear the day Jesus returns.  She packs the entire house in my suitcase, which makes it weigh a metric ton.  
Earlier this week, I spent two nights in Fort Worth because I was attending Annual Conference.  Laura and Lucia were staying at the same hotel.
When we pulled up, the valet grabbed the suitcase in of the back seat of the truck and pulled.  Nothing happened.
Realizing it was the heaviest suitcase in the history of suitcases, he said, “How many nights are you staying?”  I quickly said, “My wife packed my suitcase.”  I worried about what he thought of me.
To make matters worse, Laura and Lucia walked up and said, “Don’t let him pick up anything.  He’s recovering from back surgery.”  Yes, at that moment I was no longer a man.
Tuesday morning, I checked out of the hotel very early because I was to be at a meeting at 7:30.
As I rolled the huge luggage cart to my truck, there were pilots and a group of young men waiting for their rides to go to work.  As I reached down to pick up the heaviest suitcase in the history of suitcases, Laura yelled so loudly, they heard her in Oklahoma.  She yelled, “Don’t you pick up that suitcase.  I will load it for you.”  Knowing if I didn’t agree to let Laura load my bag, she would tell Shannon and then I’d really be in trouble, I agreed.
At that moment, all the men standing outside the hotel looked at me.  I could feel their contempt and dismay that I could not load my own suitcase.  It got even worse when Laura tried to lift the heaviest suitcase in the history of suitcases, into the back seat of a tall ¾ ton, four-wheel drive pick-up.
While none of the men offered to help while Laura huffed and puffed, I could tell they wanted me to tear up my man card and apologize to them.  I seriously thought about it.  I worried about what they thought of me.
Finally, Laura heaved the gigantic suitcase filled with all my earthly possessions into the back seat.  I told her thank you and quickly got into the driver’s seat before any of the men had time to call me a big sissy.  I worried about what they thought of me.
At lunch, as I ordered a veggie burrito, I realized I am the only male to ever order one.  In fact, the young woman taking my order looked at me as if I had two heads.  I worried what she thought of me.
As I ate my tasteless veggie burrito, I complained to Laura and Lucia all the men were looking at me with contempt and how I was no longer a man, Lucia said, “Of course you’re not a man.  Look how you eat.”  That was the moment it became very clear.  Others don’t think I’m a man.
This got me thinking.
Should I care what others think about me?  Should the opinions of others shape how I feel about myself?  Whose opinion matters most?  
Solomon, the wisest person God ever made said, “It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.”  (Proverbs 29:25)
No matter what others think of you, in the eyes of God, you are precious, beautiful, and his creation.  You belong to God, and nothing can pull you out of God’s loving embrace.  That’s what God thinks of you.
Prayer:  Dear Gracious Heavenly God, remind me who I am and whose I am.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.
Ultimately, the only opinion that matters is the opinion of the One who chose to die rather than live without you – and that’s exactly what he did.
So, even if you can’t pick up the heaviest suitcase in the history of suitcases, or be forced to watch a tiny woman heave your luggage into the back seat of your truck, or be convinced by your twelve year old doctor to eat a whole food plant-based diet, which means going to a popular Mexican restaurant and not being allowed to eat any of the good food, you still matter to God.
That’s all that matters.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins