On Sunday morning, our church congregation was gladdened by the photograph of a newborn baby. There on the big screen was the image of our Children’s Pastor’s baby daughter born on Saturday night. I do not know her name, her weight or any other details, but she is beautiful.
There is nothing quite so awesome as a newborn child. Red and wrinkled or fat and rosy makes no difference. This squirming, crying, sucking infant, who has been tucked away in the safety of a mother’s womb for nine months, is one of God’s greatest miracles—the essence of new life.
I couldn’t help but think about that brand new mother looking into her baby’s face for the first time—the rarest of occasions—the potential of a brand new life happening right before her eyes.
The sight of this tiny creature set me thinking about new life, and I remembered my days as a missionary and my first springtime in Europe.
By the time the snow was gone, and springtime finally rolled around, I had already been in a language school for eight months. It was a stressful, worrisome time for me. So much depended upon my ability to speak French, and some days I thought I would never succeed.
Thank God for spring break! My roommate and I decided to go to England for ten days. There I could practice my English and forget about the French.
We put my car on the boat at Ostend, crossed the English Channel and drove off the boat in the shadow of the Cliffs of Dover. Then we headed north on the highway to London. Now, I knew that the English drive on the left side of the road instead of the right, and I knew that, unlike ours, their steering wheels were on the right instead of the left. I was a whole lot nervous about this venture, and my roommate was frantic. She did a lot of squealing sure we would die at any moment. I still wonder at my bravery or audacity. Take your pick.
The English countryside was gorgeous. Everywhere I looked I saw the signs of new life bursting forth. The Crocuses were in bloom, and the trees were leafing out. Beautiful green meadows surrounded by ancient rock fences were filled with snow-white, newborn lambs. These babies leaped and frolicked and played in the brilliant sunshine happy in the moment. I don’t know if sheep know what joy is, but to me, the lambs were a perfect portrait of a joyous new life.
This experience was meaningful to me in an even more important way. The Lambs symbolized “New Life,” and reminded me of Europe’s children, in whose interest I had been sent to this part of the world. Many of our churches in Belgium had no ministry to children at all. Often, they were not even brought to church. It would be my responsibility to train children’s ministry workers. It would be my job to help establish Sunday Schools and weekday Bible classes for kids. I thought of these precious youngsters as Jesus’ lambs.
The Barna Group tells us that 94% of adult Christians are converted to Christ under the age of 18. Adults 19 and over have just a 6% probability of becoming Christian and partaking of this New Life in Christ Jesus.
The younger children are, when they experience this New Life, the surer it is that they will continue to follow the Lord throughout life. I am thankful that accepted Jesus when I was five years old.
We all look forward to spring even in Arizona where it is hard to differentiate the seasons. When the rigors of winter are past, when we’ve trimmed away the frozen stuff, the trees shedding their dead leaves make way for a new life, and tiny green spikes push their way through the soil, life takes on a new hue. There is a new spring in the step and hopefulness in the heart. Things seem different than usual, better than the past—time for a new beginning.
There are times when even those of us who have been believers for many years may need a start over. Perhaps it is time to let go and allow God to breathe New Life into you. Holding on to problems and doubts doesn’t change anything, but letting go sets you free to accept new outcomes, new opportunities, and new possibilities.
Genesis 2:7 says, “And the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
Job said, in 33:4, “The Spirit of God made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” And I might add, “It is the breath of God that keeps us going.”
Are you in need of an infusion of NEW LIFE today? God stands ready to breathe upon you.
Remember, the sun will come out tomorrow!