Without a doubt, life is definitely a continuous ebb and flow of perpetual highs and lows. Yet ultimately, among all of the impacting experiences that life brings to us, there are only two that trump them all– only two experiences that make time itself feel like it stands still, when we’re brought so close to the edge of eternity that we stand in awe, amazed at the power and majesty of such an Almighty God. They are birth and death. Nothing else even comes close to the supernatural awe of the miracle of life’s breath.
Last week, Dan and I had the wonderful experience of witnessing this miraculous new life at the birth of our sixth grandchild who arrived appropriately on Easter week, as our daughter Sarah did herself. Our newestborn grandson, Finnley Robert Rose– a 7 lb 10 oz bundle of overwhelming sweetness– melted our hearts when he entered the world last Wednesday.
While Mom was recovering from her C-section, Grampa and I cared for Finn’s two big brothers at our house. By the end of the week, our daughter Sarah emailed us an adorable photo of tiny little baby Finn strapped into his carseat for the first time, ready for the ride home from the hospital.
It was comical! He looked so tiny, tucked into the huge carseat, and was wide awake, very alert, with an expression on his little round face that was so serious– almost a scowl. I made a tongue-in-cheek comment to Sarah, “Apparently he heard about the economic disaster he was just born into!” Yet in truth, it was, unfortunately, a sobering, undeniable reality.
How I wish that Finn could be arriving into a world of more optimism than our current culture is offering him! Frankly, the picture of his world at this moment is not a very pretty one. Finn is immediately straddled with unbelievable debt that he had no part in contributing to. As he grows, he will have to be equipped to war against unprecidented moral and spiritual collapse in our nation. Essentially, outside of the influences of his family and supportive friends, he is surrounded by a godless, self-centered culture that is headed inevitably for collapse. And yet ironically, therein lies the hope that we carry!
The true reality is that even though the world around us may fall, we have a very sure foundation. Our hope is certainly not in man, but in God alone. When the current hedonistic American culture collapses– as it is sure to happen– there has to be a place where desperate people will look for true answers in order to rebuild. Therefore, the mission we’re called to as we’re raising this coming generation is to prepare them to provide hope and help through Godly, Biblical answers!
Our children are given to us not by accident, but for the glory of God. We must determine, as Joshua did, that “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15) Certainly, our desire is that these little ones will know the joy of their salvation. But that’s just the starting point, it’s not the climax of our mission! For our families to truly “serve the Lord,” we must be committed to living every aspect of life according to His direction–in our personal lives, in business, in education, in marriage, in economics, in civil government, in entertainment, in relationships etc. Therefore, we are called to train and disciple these young ones in the skill of “Biblical reasoning”– that is, learning to apply the comprehensive wisdom of the Bible to every area of life– in order to train them to understand and apply true answers to all of life’s questions.
The current American dilemma is not unlike the exile that the Israelites experienced when they were taken captive into the godless, hedonistic culture of Babylon. Trying to encourage the Israelites with hope [albeit, false hope] to endure it, the false prophet Hananiah tried to assure them that they would be free within just two years. It sounded so convincing and so encouraging that even Jeremiah himself enthusiastically responded, “Amen! May the Lord do so!” (Jeremiah 28:6.) But he was wrong. That was not reality. Like them, we can’t just hide our heads in the sand and pretend we can just wish it all away.
In reality, the Israelites were in Babylon for the long haul. Seventy years– a whole generation– would pass before they would know freedom from their oppression. But meanwhile, they were on a mission. The call of God on their lives was to prepare for the day of deliverance. Even while they were captive in Babylon for those 70 years, God commanded them to:
“Build houses and live in them. Plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters. MULTIPLY THERE! Do not decrease! But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare…For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:5-11.)
Even yet, it was 70 years– a full generation– before Israel saw the good, the “hope and the future” that God promised them. Like Israel in Babylon, we’re also on a mission, participating in the plans that will ultimately be for our good. We must not become discouraged by looking around us, but rather keep our focus on God, and increase our families, faithfully raising and training our children for the King and His glory, preparing them for the hope that is ahead.
Regardless of what’s going on around me, nothing can rob me of the joy of “increasing our tribe!” I see the hope that’s ahead! Finn’s birth is truly something awesome to celebrate. I pray that he will truly become a mighty arrow in the hands of a Godly warrior, a sharp, well-prepared, well-defined arrow that will find success in his generation for the glory of God. Welcome, baby Finn! Welcome indeed!
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