We were racing down the freeway at a great rate of knots. Lorelle’s contractions had developed into a pretty regular pattern. We didn’t want to be caught out, so we bolted for the hospital. It was all very new and exciting; soon we would have our first child. We glided up to the labour ward, the nurse took one look at us and said, “You’re too happy, you need to go for a walk.” Well, that put a hole in our drum. Forty-five minutes later we came back and now Lorelle wasn’t smiling any more. Another thirty minutes and we landed right in the middle of labour. Yep, there is no other word to describe it, labour, hard labour. We tried to remember all the techniques from the prenatal classes but it was hard to stay focused. Those contractions hit like a freight train coming head on. As soon as you had dealt with one the next one was straight on top of you. Finally after eleven hours, we received our first born son Michael.
There is a really interesting photo of Lorelle and me, just after she gave birth. It’s absolutely amazing. She is sitting there just beaming as though it was all in a day’s work and I’m swaying in the breeze looking like I was about to collapse. I developed a profound new respect for womanhood that day. I must tell you ladies, that watching your wife give birth is really hard work.
When you finish laughing, I’ll finish my point ☺. The emotional stress of watching the one you love in so much pain is incredible. For us men, we usually have a solution to a problem, but I had no answers this time, and it hurt. I just prayed “God, I know there is a reason for all this pain, but right now I can’t see it.” I was sure glad when it was over.
When I held my son for the first time, it was an eternal moment. I looked down into his eyes, and he was looking straight back at me, and it was amazing. As I continued to look down in awe and wonder, I was gripped with this deep sense of fear. I knew that my son was stamped with the same nature as mine, a nature that challenges authority, that naturally gravitates to rebellion rather than obedience. I knew that I had the responsibility for guiding that will and training him in the disciplines of real love, and kindness and selflessness and obedience. After all this, I wondered, would he be my friend? Could something come between us and separate us? I just prayed right there, “Oh dear Father in heaven, don’t let anything come between my son and me. May we always be close, and I pray that he will come to know who I am and be my friend.” The intensity of that prayer remains with me. I feel it often, and I still pray it believing that God will make it a reality.
Four years later I was spending a quiet Sabbath day walking and talking with the Lord, far away from the hustle and bustle of life. I was thinking about my Father in heaven and His love for me and how precious it is. All of a sudden, a movie started playing in my mind of the birth of my son and I relived that intense desire to never be separated from him and that he would truly know me. The scene passed and in the quietness, I heard a still small voice deep in my mind, and it said, “That’s the way I feel about you.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, and I found it incredibly hard to accept. “But Lord,” I said, “You know what I am like, You know that I have done and said many wrong things,” and so I went on fighting. You know, I was really surprised with myself. I am a man who has accepted Christ as his Saviour and believes his sins are forgiven, but when God came that close to me and told me the way He feels about me, it was hard to accept. Finally I just cried out “Oh thank you, thank you for loving me and thank you for all that you have done for me. I love you very much.” In a very real sense I felt like I was being held in His arms. I could not have been happier. I realised my Father in heaven loves me so much that He doesn’t want anything to come between us. It hurts Him to think that we could be separated, and He is doing everything He can to keep that from ever happening.
In this experience the wonderful privileges of being a part of God’s kingdom were revealed to me at my heart level. Soon after this experience I was led to some passages in the Bible that really opened my eyes and made me praise God even more. I pray that the significance of this text will burn into your heart and never leave you. Here is a very clear window into the kingdom of God:
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12:6,7
Jesus is explaining the principles of His kingdom. In these verses we have a formula for what makes people significant in that kingdom. What makes them count, what makes them worth something, what makes them valuable? If these issues are not important to you, then this text won’t mean much, but I have not found anyone yet who is not wrestling with them.
Jesus states the value of two sparrows in human terms. In an earthly sense these sparrows have little value. Jesus then makes a contrast and says, “Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” The contrast here is that because God remembers the sparrows, they are very valuable in God’s Kingdom. Jesus extends this principle by comparing how much God thinks about us as compared to sparrows. “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” If that is not ‘up front, close and personal’ then what is? Do you know anyone who wants to know so much about you that they even monitor the number of hairs on your head? Then comes the punch line. “Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Can you see how worth and significance is gained in God’s kingdom? It comes from simply realizing that God lovingly thinks about us continually. We are definitely on His mind. He is giving us life, making our hearts beat, and actively pouring His love into our lives so that we can enjoy life, and He imparts to us rich gifts, talents and abilities for our satisfaction, enjoyment and service for others. Here is the secret of God’s kingdom, the secret of significance. It is the key that unlocks the enslaving kingdom of worthlessness and depression. Do you have the courage to believe it?
While we are on this point, do you know how much God thinks about you? Listen to this…
Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. Psalms 40:5 KJV
If our value is determined by the loving thoughts that God has towards us, then this text tells us that we are priceless, because it says His plans and thoughts for us are greater than can be declared or numbered. How does it feel to be priceless? But it can only be as good as our belief in the truth that God loves us so much regardless of how good or bad we are. This is wonderful news and I am so thankful for it. So whenever you are tempted to doubt your worth, just look at the sparrows and believe!