Monthly Archives: May 2014

(L)earning the Freedom to Be Authentic

Just found out that another web site published another of my submissions!  🙂  Hope you enjoy….

(L)earning the Freedom to Be Authentic.

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When I See a Baby, I See an Invitation. Do You?

 

In thinking through what an amazing work God does when He creates a new human life, I was drawn to look back at the creation story. I was struck by the wording chosen to reflect God’s workings on the first five days. He essentially would say, “Let this new reality come into being…..” and it happened just as he said! When it came to creating the first man and woman, however, he had a significantly more intimate approach. As you read the verses below  from Genesis 2, I hope you’ll hear with me how He invests His very self in this work. Please also think with me how God carefully chose and constructed where the man, and later the woman, would live:

GENESIS 2:7-9, 21-22—>   7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. 8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

God’s intentional attention and focus are revealed in “formed,” and “breathed.”  The description of God’s preparation of Eden, again, shows that for this part of His creation, merely speaking the Word won’t reflect His heart rightly. Here, let’s see the personal “hands-on” work God chooses to use in creating the first woman:

21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

Again, these verses reveal that creating the first man and woman merits more focused attention than simply speaking His powerful Word for this new reality.  In light of how important creating the first man and woman was to God, I have to believe that somehow God continues to be intimately involved in every aspect of a baby’s beginnings: who the parents are; just which chromosomes will come together to make this whole new life; timing of conception; and somehow tailoring the personality, the very BEING, of the baby to be a blessing from the beginning.

I find that His hand in the beginning of life is easiest for me to grasp in Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV).

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Part of why I connect so strongly to these verses is because I like to knit, I’m sure! I see parallels between what I do when I knit, and what God does when He knits: I usually make baby blankets as gifts for people or families I know at least a little bit. So I carefully select a pattern, what color (or colors) to use, the type of yarn (it has to be very easy-care!), the needle size, all of which make each blanket look a little different. In Psalm 127:3, God says that children are a gift from Him. So I think it is safe to believe that He very carefully constructs each new little life to be a gift. His “yarn basket” and array of tools and designs far surpasses anything we can conceive! God carefully designs both the visible, touchable contours of the baby, and also the qualities that can’t yet be measured: the personality; the soul; strengths and weaknesses; areas the little one will be gifted in; his eventual height; the ways this baby will bring out the strengths of his parent; and the ways the parents will be challenged to yield more to God because of their weaknesses the baby exposes. Everything about the baby will invite us to see God’s design, His goodness, His desire for our best.

While I’m knitting, I both have delight in the act of creating, and an anticipation of the recipient’s enjoyment. Well, maybe the moms’ enjoyment, since the baby can’t show me for some time whether he even likes the blanket…..As the design continues to unfold, stitch by stitch, row by row, I delight in having the skill to make this article grow as I planned, and occasionally, I get a pleasant surprise when the blanket turns out looking even better than I had hoped. Unlike me, God doesn’t ever have to rip out a row or two because He’s made a mistake…and unlike me, I suspect He is never surprised at how well His workmanship turns out….As I knit, it is easy for me to imagine God’s pleasure in His work of creating a new life, stitch by stitch, row by row, in developing every aspect of the baby’s being. I believe He anticipates the delight the parents and family will have in the little one.

Equally as important, I believe God anticipates the delight the little one will have in the gift of life. Watching young children play, run, explore, and talk over their discoveries, I see this almost tangible delight in the gifts of life, and of a wonderful world to explore. I believe God allows us to see this capacity for delight in children, as an invitation for us to continue to delight in Him, and in the work He is doing in us, in a similar way.

So, could it be, that with each new baby’s life, God invites us to look anew at our own lives, to see the gift that He gave us, when He created us? In the areas where we don’t or can’t see reason to delight, I believe He waits for us to let Him redeem these tender areas. He is more than ready to allow us to experience His great compassion, care, and love in the redemption process.

Because we have an Enemy who comes to kill, steal, and destroy, it should come as no surprise that we will be challenged to experience and model consistently the incredible richness of the gift of life in Christ. This Enemy works to hide from us God’s true character, and our true identities, as men and women deeply loved by a generous, compassionate God who intentionally and intimately created every aspect of who we are, to delight in HIm and enjoy His presence. Our delight in, love for, and obedience to God glorifies Him, and helps reveal His goodness in a powerful way.

I find it easier to delight wholeheartedly in someone when I feel this “someone” at least likes me a little bit.  If I don’t know God’s true heart towards me, glorifying Him is more of a work than a joy.  How can I be SURE God delights in us? I return frequently and repeatedly to Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)—>

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing.

I pray that we will all KNOW from the depths of our being the truth of these words!