On Seeing Skippy

      I watched the birth of my granddaughter "Skippy" on the screen of a smartphone yesterday. Actually, I read the birth of my granddaughter on the screen of a smartphone yesterday.  While Kathy, my eldest daughter, and her husband Steve were enduring the marathon of the miracle, my wife MariAnne and I and Kathy's dear friend Sarah were anxiously staggering the floor of the waiting room. It was a long and far more torturous event than I had imagined. I am thankful that compared to the old days when you waited restlessly for someone to come through the door announcing "It's a boy!" or "It's a girl!", Steve was doing us a great kindness by sending us updates by text every half hour. I would then relay what I knew to my daughter, Lauren, in Honduras.

            After twenty-seven hours of the usual childbirth progression or, at times, the lack thereof, the texts took a rather serious and urgent twist. The baby's heart rate was dropping. There were signs of distress in the womb. They were prepping Kath for surgery. Suddenly the silences between the texts seemed interminable. We stared at our phones, praying and pacing. We prayed. We waited. I paced.

            I don't remember everything that Steve sent our way. However, there was one breakthrough text that I do remember very well: "I can hear Corrie crying!"  Suddenly, I could no longer see the screen on the phone anymore. For some reason, it was just too blurry. Corrie was crying. I knew Steve was crying. We bowed and blubbered a prayer of thanks.

            This morning, as I reflect upon Corrie's birth, there are two prayers that I have for myself. The first is that I might linger over God's texts to me with the same attentiveness as I did to the ones coming from Steve yesterday. Those of you who know me, know that I believe that the Bible is God's Word. Those who lazily try to critique it or dismiss it with careless unresearched criticisms have only served to confirm its veracity to me. Those who have over-zealously sought to punch holes in it because of a pre-commitment to a godless life have been instrumental in forming a deeper conviction in my mind and my heart that this Word is powerful and life-transforming. Our lives and our world would be a far more beautiful place if the righteousness and love that God produces by His Word working in our hearts and mind shaped everyone. So, may it begin with me. May I linger over God's Word with the eagerness of a Dad waiting for news about his daughter from her husband texting about her labour. May I pray with the psalmist, "Open my eyes, that I may behold, wondrous things from your law!" [1] or "Incline my heart to your testimonies and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways!"

            My second prayer is that I might look forward with greater eagerness to the day when I see Jesus face to face. We have been waiting for Corrie's arrival eagerly. When we walked into the Labour and Delivery Department and saw Steve holding Skippy, it really was thrilling. She was beautiful. Stebo was wiping tears away. We were wiping tears away. She was worth it all.

            There is a scene in the Bible where the Queen of Sheba visits King Solomon because she has heard of his great wisdom and his wealth. She is eager to see it with her own eyes and so she travels across desert and wilderness to meet him. When she finally seems him in person, she says this to him: "The report was true that I heard in my own land of you words and your wisdom, but I did not believe until I came and my own eyes had seen it. And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. Happy are your men! Happy are your servants, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! Because the Lord loved Israel forever, He has made you king, that you may execute justice and righteousness." [2]

            The Lord our God has so loved the world that He has set His Son Jesus on the throne to rule forever like Solomon did over Israel. Jesus is said in the Bible to be the ultimate "son of David" (King Solomon was King David's son). By His kindness, I am one of those happy ones that the Queen of Sheba mentions above who has been serving in his courts. However, there is a day coming when we will see the fullness of His glory not in this broken world in which we presently abide. We will see Him in the new heaven and the new earth. On that day, our tears of joy will far surpass that of a new dad or a new mom seeing their baby for the first time. We will echo the Queen of Sheba when we say that what we saw of Christ in the Scriptures and have hear told us by others was not even the half of the glory of His wisdom and prosperity.

            It is a miracle to hold a beautiful newborn child. To see her little chubby cheeks and see her dark eyes and little lips and long fingers. It brings much joy, joy beyond expectation. What a small but wonderful picture of what it will be to see the reality one day of meeting the One who we have been waiting to see all our lives. God help me to read every text you have sent with eagerness, and look longingly for Your arrival.

[1] Psalm 119:18

[2] 1 Kings 10:6-9


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