Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Miracle of Ethan

I love the spring of the year.  God's handiwork is so evident in the rebirth of lawns, gardens, and trees.  Although it is a relatively new hobby for me, I enjoy planting bushes and flowers.  I may water, weed, and put down fertilizer, but the spectacular bloom of springtime azaleas or the summer blossom of trumpet lilies can only be attributed to the handiwork of our Creator.  To whom else can we give credit for such intricate and perfect workmanship?

There is even greater creation that God takes a part in, and even more personally.  When conception takes place and new life begins in the womb of a mother, God comes down and breathes into that tiny life His very likeness.  The little life becomes a living soul that will live forever.  Nine months go by and then after a struggle (part of the curse), the little life comes into the world.
This happened this past Wednesday evening when our daughter, Michelle, gave birth to her first child, Ethan Joseph Steele.  He came complete with all the genes and chromosomes he inherited from his parents and looks just like his dad.  He has perfectly formed fingers, two eyes, two ears, a full head of hair, although still missing a set of teeth!

I believe God is personally interested in Ethan.  He chose Ethan's parents.  And God has given Aaron and Michelle a great responsibility - that of raising Ethan to live for God.  I have mentioned in a previous post that my responsibility as a grandparent is to pray for the little guy, give good counsel when asked, and do what I can to aid his parents in pointing him to the Savior.  But God holds parents accountable to do all they can to bring their children to the Lord. 
I don't mean to say that if a son or daughter strays away that it is always the parents' fault.  Part of having a soul or being a moral agent is the ability to choose between right and wrong, goodness and sin.  And just as Adam and Eve  chose to sin while in the Garden, every child that has ever lived (apart from Jesus) has chosen to disobey God.  Is that the fault of the mother or father?  Of course not!

But there are far too many young parents who have shirked their responsibility in this area.  I can't think anything more terrible than to see your children doomed to hell, all because as a parent there were more important things in your life than to spend your energy and time leading them to faith in Christ Jesus.  This is the most awesome and serious duty to which God calls parents. 

I have a lot more time to do things I enjoy than I had several years ago  when my children were young.  But I determined long ago that my enjoyment must be secondary to my children.  Kathy and I have always felt it was important to serve in our local church and for many years we taught primary church and worked in Awana.  We wanted be good role models for our kids to emulate.  We also spent time talking with them, often about the Bible or other spiritual matters.  And when it came to corporal punishment (yes, we spanked), we tried not to do it in anger (it makes my blood boil when I see mothers slap their child's face - never good!), but to explain what we and God expect of them.  We even home schooled for a couple years.  We were not perfect parents by any means, and I say this not to pat myself on the back.  But if it will encourage young parents to keep at it when your children are driving you crazy and it seems hopeless, I promise you, there is light at the end of the tunnel!
From personal experience and I know others will agree with me, the teen-age years can be the best years you will spend with your kids.  It's payoff for all the work and sacrifice of the previous 12-15 years of being in the trenches.

Deut. 6:4-9 are words we should take to heart:

'Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, The LORD is one!  And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart;  and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.'

My prayer for my children and for you my dear readers who may be in the child-bearing/child-rearing stage of life is that you take these words of God to heart.  God will reward you for your faithfulness to Him.