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.