I can still remember it like yesterday, that hot day last summer. I was speaking at the closing ceremony at the Washington Courthouse Relay For Life. My daughter, Bethany, went with me. As we walked around the final lap on the track, I looked down at the hundreds of names that were lining the track from the luminaries the previous night, honoring so many lives lost from that unrelenting disease, cancer. What losses. Precious beautiful lives swallowed up in death, long before their time. As we neared the halfway mark around the track, Bethany broke the news to me that she was expecting a new baby. Amidst the shock and the excitement of such good news, and after our tears and hugs were exchanged, I couldn’t help but ponder at the significance of the atmosphere of hearing such news of new life. With mixed emotions, first, the mood was somber. There were so many lives lost. Those people whose names lined the track were other people’s loved ones that they loved dearly and missed with each passing day. Their lives shouted to the world that they had touched countless lives and would be remembered forever for who they were and that they didn’t die in vain. Their lives testified to all that “life goes on.” I’m sure that all of those precious lives that were honored around the track that day would have cheered for me at the news of new life at what was, otherwise, such a dark moment.
Well… the days turned into weeks, and, eventually nine months had passed. Bethany and I spent quite a bit of time together during her pregnancy. We laughed, cried, and, yes, we ate together quite a bit. In fact, I still have some weight to work off. I looked forward with anticipation to the birth of the precious baby that would soon be a very real part of all of our lives. I don’t care how much you try to prepare for a new baby, with boat loads full of diapers, bottles, bibs, etc. etc…..or how many kids and grandkids you have, each new birth is a testimony of the love of an awesome God who is the creator of life.
The birthing process isn’t always easy. In fact, it can be downright hard at times. I’ve been involved in the births of all of my grandchildren, and that first cry gets me every time! What a miracle! I always cry before I hear it as their approaching birth becomes more evident with the passage of time. It is an announcement to all within hearing distance, “I am here. I am ready for all that each day can enfold. I look to you, Mommy, Daddy, Grandpa, Grandma, Aunts, Uncles, Brothers, Sisters, and Friends. I am here! Let’s celebrate!! After she was born, and her mommy and daddy held her and loved her, it was my turn. Sweet little Jossalyn! Tiny ears, tiny toes, fingers, and nose. Beautiful hair in a perfect hairline, rosy cheeks, soft skin of velvet, baby powder, ribbons and bows; Perfect in every way, yet, completely dependent for food, warmth, nurturing and love. What a miracle!
Since her birth, I was looking back at some old baby pictures and ran across a movie of Mark pushing Bethany on the swing. She was only five years old. She had a tight grip on the swing, and all you could see was those little wobbly knees soaring into the sky. All you could hear was her sweet little voice, “Push me higher Daddy. Higher Daddy!” With shrieks of excitement and giggles, she soared higher into the wind. She was enjoying that time with just her and her daddy so much.
Reflecting on all of this, it reminds me of our grown up heart cry to our heavenly Father. “Push me higher Daddy. Higher Daddy!” We don’t have to cry very loud, because before we get the first word out, He is right there. From our lowest of lows to our highest of highs, in His most reassuring voice, He answers us, “I am here for you My Child. I was just waiting for you to to call. I long to take you higher than you ever believed possible!”
What good father wouldn’t give his child anything he asked for? That’s how God loves you and I. There is nothing good He would withhold from you. With outstretched arm, He is waiting to draw you in. “What do you need?” He asks. “Do you need love, forgiveness, healing, provision? Are you lonely, sick, or afraid?” Tell Him your needs today. No pit is too deep, nor, no sin too great. No sickness or relationship too far gone, for the God Who flung the stars into space to bend down and lift you up! He wants to push you higher in every way, every day!
Life is such a miracle. Every day is a cause for a celebration. No matter how long you live, from your first breath, to your last, life is precious! Enjoy every moment to the fullest. Reach out and touch everyone you can with your smile and never forget that God will push you higher. He is the glory and lifter of your head!!!