Baby Stages

With the recent birth of my 7th grandbaby (6th granddaughter), I cannot begin to explain the hope and wonder wrapped up in that little bundle, only 7 lbs. and 4 oz., in those first few days – swaddled and resting securely in the various arms of her parents and grandparents. Nothing on earth compares to that joy.

I am reminded that Jesus chose the route of human birth in order to meet the greatest need of the world – the need for redemption. He didn’t start out the journey as an adult, He chose to complete the whole human experience in its entirety. He started out as a baby. Zechariah 4:10 (NIV) says, “Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstone in the hand of Zerubbabel?” Zerubbabel was a descendant of David who was born in Babylon during the exile, and as an adult, returned to his homeland (Judah) to rebuild the temple during the time of Nehemiah. Small beginnings led to a great project for God’s glory.

Maturity doesn’t happen over night. All of life begins in the hidden places, beyond our ability to physically see. Psalm 139:15 says, “My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” Hidden from us – yes, but not hidden from all-knowing and all-powerful Creator God. The One Who directs our growth and development. The One Who sees us. The One we can know.

All people, enterprises, businesses, ministries start with small beginnings – fragile, tenuous, and in need of great care to survive and thrive. There are baby stages that are as important as, if not more important than, the more mature stages. With a New Year (2023) and the expected conversations about resolutions, wouldn’t it be very promising to apply ourselves to the tender care of all those things that are in their infancy? Things that hold promise for the future and human flourishing in general? Things that build up rather than tear down? Things that are in their baby stages?

I can think of countless things that need gentle nurture so that they can reach healthy adulthood. However, most urgent is the nurture of our fledgling faith in the God Who created the universe and reached down to us through His Son Jesus to redeem us. All other nurture flows from growing faith. Faith has an infancy, yet God is faithful to place opportunity after opportunity in front of us to develop in us stronger faith in Him. Faith has baby stages, but let us not let another year go by when we let apostasy stunt any chance we have for spiritual maturity and growth.

My resolution is to make sure I don’t let baby stages become permanent and stunt my growth. John MacArthur has said, “An Apostate is someone who has received the Light but not the Life, the seed but not the fruit, the written Word but not the Living Word, the truth but not a love for the truth.” I am grateful for the baby stages when I first received the Light, the seed, the written Word and the truth. But, by God’s grace, I don’t want to remain in infancy. I want to live out the Life, produce the fruit, reflect the Living Word, and have a love for the truth.

Famine of Truth

Photo Credit – Kim Clayton Lance

John 4:10 says, “Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and Who it is that asks you for a drink you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’ ” John 7:38 says, “Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”

Famines test our ability to trust God. Among other biblical examples, Abram and Sarai went to Egypt to evade a famine, but found that following natural plans apart from God’s plans ended in disaster (Genesis 12). A scarcity of knowing what God says leaves us vulnerable and depleted of truth. What “scripture has said” is dangerous to be forgotten. While physical hunger or thirst pains can make us desperate, spiritual hunger and thirst pose a bigger threat to our eternal survival.

Following a 2020 spring season of fear and isolation in the discovery mode of the Covid pandemic, a new and more regular way of doing things emerged. In the earliest days, negotiating toilet paper shortages, grocery deliveries, mask wearing, and a general sense of high caution without much knowledge was the new normal. Slow down from busyness was both a gift and a curse. It depended on how that time got spent…

Life felt a little prison-like. Lack of human contact has taken a heavy toll on families, friends, and church communities. As months have rolled by, we found new routes for getting things done – Amazon orders, senior hours at stores, Zoom meetings, outdoor activities, church online, etc. We’ve navigated different tolerance levels for pandemic protocols, CDC guidelines, and government rhetoric. We have gone to lengths to get our families together, trying to satisfy our sensibilities of what is safe.

But, what happened to our hearts and heads? Another new normal was the default of filling more time and space with whatever did not satisfy or quench. Absorbing America in an election year (2020), in the Post Christian/ Post Truth era, revealed a devastating moral bankruptcy. How did this occur? “We The People” have been simply starving to death. We are dangerously prone to total biblical illiteracy, rejection of the authority of God’s Word, rejection of God.

We are indeed desperate and may not even detect how our truth famine is slowly killing us. Deep down, our heads and hearts crave a feast of God’s Truth. What is it that really keeps us safe? Morally and spiritually? Pay attention to the warnings…

2 Timothy 4:3-5 says, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardships, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

Regain your sensibilities and keep your head by feeding on God’s Word. Don’t be easily deceived, easily lie-buying. Easily not searching out matters. Easily letting media rule the day. Easily censoring right things in exchange for wrong things. And easily letting errors and falsehoods creep into every thought of the human heart. Easily forgetting history. Forgetting God’s story, God’s Word.

A famine of truth is best satisfied with a feast of God’s Truth… Jeremiah 2:13 says, “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” God’s Word is the only thing that holds spiritual food and water for us and keeps us from dying of spiritual hunger and thirst. If we neglect it, we will be digging a cistern full of cracks. We will be increasingly desperate, embracing every form of deception.

Here is the simple truth repeated. John 4:10 says, “Jesus answered her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and Who it is that asks you for a drink you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water.’ ” John 7:38 says, “Whoever believes in Me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Amen.