It was the fall of 1975 in Honolulu and the local triple AAA minor league baseball team, the Hawaii Islanders, had captured their first title. It was a most improbable achievement. No mainland baseball team, minor or major league, paid any serious attention to Hawaii. My father and I, like thousands of other islanders, faithfully followed the games by radio and on this final game, when the last out was called, we both leaped in the air yelling, “They did it! They did it!”
I was elated! Living in Hawaii, separated from the mainland of the United States, any good news was often overlooked by the continental states and even if reported, was viewed as quaint and a novelty. Our voice was small and insignificant. This victory made Hawaii’s voice heard in the world of baseball and I was proud to identify myself with the state. We may not have had the illustrious credentials of other baseball teams, but we had proven ourselves against overwhelming odds.
A few years later, I left Hawaii for college in California. Not surprisingly, I was sometimes looked down upon because of my island origins. While my classmates were enamored with the exotic locale of my childhood, some cast a dubious eye upon my educational credentials, even insinuating that I did not deserve to be there. I didn’t attend the local prestigious prep schools; I had no family legacy at the college; I was a racial minority. Yet, I knew I was qualified to attend this college, regardless of my background. There was nothing for which I needed to be ashamed. I was proud of my Hawaiian heritage and it forced me to steel my resolve and stand strong. Ultimately, I would prove this with my academic performance.
Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ “
Amos 7:14-15 (ESV)
The Prophet Amos was called by God to be a prophet. He was a herdsman and farmer of figs with no formal education. Tekoa, his homeland, was a small town in the tribe of Judah. He was as backwater as someone playing professional baseball in Hawaii. When Amaziah, the priest, belittled his prophecies and ordered him to depart the land, Amos stood his ground and defended himself. He acknowledged he did not have the esteemed credentials as other prophets and learned men, but he had one important ally. God was on his side and he was obeying God’s calling. God was on his side, who could stand against him?
My experience in college would not be the last time that I would be belittled because of my Hawaiian background. God has taught me that, like the prophet Amos, whatever situation I find myself in, God is with me and would not lead me into any situation unless He also properly equipped me to honor His Name.
Indeed. He did it!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.