Here I sit at 72, proofing a manuscript for my next book, The Christ I Have Come to Know. The preface I have taken from a blog written
five years ago, which captured a precious moment with my grandson, John Luther. Allow me to pick up my thoughts at that time:
John Luther is teething and with temperature, so I have the pleasure of his company today.
He is resting quietly on my shoulder as I write, but with some need to cling, suddenly awakened by any attempt on my part to distance myself from him.
Of course, if I lay him down, the cry he has learned to use pulls so deeply at my heart, that I then quickly pull him back to my bosom. It’s an abrupt cry that could awaken the heavens, much like my own when I am dis-eased by a falsely perceived distance from God.
John Luther, like his grandfather, has his own attachments. He likes to have at least three pacifiers within reach. Even when asleep he will reach out and cluster them near his mouth. I too have pacifiers, certain sins, that so easily beset me, often reached for in my restless struggles.
I am much better than in my younger days, just as he will also become one day, perhaps even joking with his spouse when he reads these words about his youthful neediness.
As I care for John Luther, I am also learning anew the Father’s heart for me. I feel His heart when my heart is touched by little John’s infirmities. Whether it’s an earache, or a tooth trying to come through, I suffer too, at least emotionally.
He stumbles and bumps himself more often now, for at 11 months, John is beginning to walk. At first he was constantly grasping for a finger, holding on with all his strength for the sake of security.
Soon I'm sure, will come the day when his parents send "the video." He by then will have broken loose on his own, like so many before him, pushing a toy with wheels, somewhat like an older adult with a walker.
In fact, the last couple of days he has actually begun to stand up on his own, better enduring the awkwardness, as he gains confidence and stamina. He is learning that freedom is more enjoyable than being bound by the need for an adult hand.
Myself, at 67, perhaps still a little clingy, but my heavenly Father, like this first time grandfather is always nearby, patiently awaiting my reach; hoping however for my breakthrough moment.
Will I ever grow up, truly walking “up-right” in the image of God? I certainly aspire to, but brokenness seems a part of my fabric, my false-self!
“Therefore there is only one problem on which all my existence, my peace and my happiness depend: to discover myself in discovering God. If I find Him I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him. The only One Who can teach me to find God is God, Himself, Alone.” (1)
As I age, now 72, just as little John Luther, I am beginning to become more comfortable with my actions, my thoughts and the words that I use to share those thoughts.
As an elder, my thoughts are neither the thoughts of my parents nor those of others, but thoughts of my own. If ever I am to be able, surely now I am at a point in time to frame my own words, just as John Luther has now abandoned his earlier babbling and begun to share his own thoughts, and quite well. Note the proud grandfather!
My thoughts are now backed by 70 plus years of journey, years in which I have been privileged to see the mighty hand of the Lord.
Whether it was the unlikely honor of being asked to serve on a board with esteemed marketplace leaders, or three terms as a small town mayor, God has been faithful in opportunities afforded as means for expressing my earlier calling to cities.
Yet, those are things that any achiever might be able to accomplish on their own. For that reason, I am grateful that God has so marvelously intervened at times and in ways that many may have never experienced. Providing miraculous moments to restore my confidence, when the challenge before me exceeded my skill set.
aising an old man named Leonard Sykes from an unconscious state, when I was still young in the faith was one such moment. Praying a prayer over a helpless individual and then seeing their life extended has a powerful impact on ones faith. Justaising an old man named Leonard Sykes from an unconscious state, when I was still young in the faith was one such moment. Praying a prayer over a helpless individual and then seeing their life extended has a powerful impact on ones faith.
Having the Lord intervene more than once when my life and in fact, my family could have been snuffed out in a traffic calamity, comes to mind as well. Once a car passed right through our own! I kid you not!
Like the three Hebrew children, I have been in the fire and have seen the Fourth Man, the Word become flesh. After such moments, the text of scripture reads quite differently!
These water shed moments, akin to those recorded in the text of the Book of Joshua,
when the Israelites were crossing the Jordan, then at flood stage and the God of Moses once more intervened.
Joshua then memorialized that moment,
by having each of 12 men carry a stone from the dry bed of the Jordan. The stones were then stacked nearby the place where once floodwaters had raged. Generations hence, when told of this story, would have tangible evidence of the unseen God, who allowed their ancestors passage where few men had trod!
The purpose of this book is to stack a few stones, stories in fact, that memorialize my God experience, in a day when so many will readily take up stones, but only to defend their belief in a God they have never met.
1) Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation.