Wednesday, May 4, 2016


An Arkie's Faith column from the May 4, 2016 issue of The Mena Star.

Last weekend I made a trip to the Houston area to meet my newest granddaughter. I wasn’t able to be there for her birth, but I was anxious to see her.  She was everything I expected: sweet, delicate, and beautiful. As I held this new life in my arms, I wished joy, happiness, and success for her. I had hopes and dreams for her just as I have had for all of my grandchildren.

A newborn is a blank canvas for God to paint. It’s all there for the new parents and grandparents to see: the dreams, the hopes, the possibilities, the potential, the beauty, the love, the innocence. Think back to the day you first looked into the face of your child or grandchild. Do you remember what it was like to look into the face of a newborn? Do you remember how watching the baby and seeing that sweet face touched you?

I have two children and five grandchildren, and I have vivid memories of each one of them as newborns. Each time my heart was filled with love as I thought about their future. I imagined the potential and possibilities in their tiny little hands. I imagined the life I wanted them to have.

Psalms 127:3 (NCV) tells us that, “Children are a gift from the Lord; babies are a reward.” It’s about more than being a parent or grandparent. It’s about more than cuteness and sentimentality. It’s about more than just the newborn baby. It is a gift from God.

While you are holding a newborn, you can’t help but be amazed by the miracle of life. Looking down at a baby softly breathing in your arms fills your heart with emotions so powerful that you can fall in love in an instant. And just when you think your heart is going to burst because of the miracle in your arms, suddenly their new little lungs are exercised as they cry and you can’t help but take notice.

There is nothing quite as urgent as the cry of a newborn baby. The cry of a newborn sends people scurrying to restore the calm. The amount of chaos that these tiny little humans have the power to create is incredible. Before they arrive, there is anticipation, expectation, and joy. But once a newborn arrives on the scene, nothing is ever the same.

It is interesting that God has chosen birth as a symbol of the relationship he wants with us. When Nicodemus came to see Jesus at night the first thing that Jesus said to him was, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3 (NKJV) Nicodemus was puzzled. He asked Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” John 3:4 (NKJV)

Jesus told Nicodemus, “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:7,8 (NKJV)

Why would Jesus use this imagery of a newborn to explain what happens when a person has a relationship with God? The idea of a new birth is a way to talk about the newness that comes from a relationship with God. It is a way to describe God’s transformation of a person.

As I held my newborn granddaughter, I thought about her future. I imagined the potential and possibilities in her tiny little hands. I imagined the life I wanted her to have. I believe that is the way that God views His children. When we are “born again” God looks at us and sees the potential and possibilities in our life.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) Paul tells us that, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” When we start a relationship with Jesus, we become a new creature. We have a new life. Jesus looks at us in the same way that we look at a newborn. He sees us as a miraculous new life with lots of potential. He doesn’t look at our past; He looks at our future with Him.

Gentle Reader, the next time you have the opportunity to hold a newborn baby in your arms, remember that God looks at you the same way you look at the new little life you are cuddling. He wants you to be a newborn; to be “born again.”

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