I was able to go and visit a brand new baby on Tuesday. She was actually less than 24 hours old when I got to hold her. Her name is Joy Alethia and she is beautiful! I was blessed to be able to come on my lunch hour and see her. She is the daughter of our Senior Pastor Shawn and his wife Lisa. Our Pastor of Discipleship, Tom and his wife Joy, also had a brand new baby on Monday. Her name is Karlie Elizabeth. She is also beautiful but unfortunately the hospital they are at is too far for me to make it there and back during my brief lunch. I look forward to getting see and hold Karlie soon.
After seeing Joy in person and pictures of Karlie, I got to thinking about brand new life. These precious little babies are so new they don’t even have a blemish on them. They are perfect and innocent. They are beautiful creations of God made in His own image.
Then I thought about myself. I used to be just like Joy and Karlie. Brand new with not a wrinkle or blemish on me. Beautiful and innocent. However, now, after 44 years, I’m worse for wear. I’ve got gray hair, sags, and wrinkles. I’ve got spots, and freckles, and scars. I’m definitely not innocent. I’ve sinned and fallen short of the glory of God every single day of my life. And it’s taken its toll. I don’t look much like the newborn baby that I once was. In fact, if you saw me then and now, you most likely wouldn’t even recognize me.
Thinking about this really shows me what God has done for me. When I look in the mirror I see a middle-aged (when did that happen?), overweight (and when did that happen?) woman. But that’s not what God sees. He sees my heart and every thought and intention. He sees who I really am, not just who I try to be, or who I show everyone around me.
Now that can be really scary when you think about it. God sees the real me. The one I hide, the one I don’t want anyone else to know about. All the bad thoughts, the selfishness, and ugliness. There is this song called “Welcome Home.” It perfectly describes the hidden ugliness in my heart to me:
Welcome to this heart of mine
I’ve buried under prideful vines
Grown to hide the mess I’ve made
Inside of me
Come decorate, Lord
Open up the creaking door
And walk upon the dusty floor
Scrape away the guilty stains
Until no sin or shame remain
Spread Your love upon the walls
And occupy the empty halls
Until the man I am has faded
No more doors are barricaded
Take a seat, pull up a chair
Forgive me for the disrepair
And the souvenirs from floor to ceiling
Gathered on my search for meaning
Every closet’s filled with clutter
Messes yet to be discovered
I’m overwhelmed, I understand
I can’t make this place all that You can
I took the space that You placed in me
Redecorated in shades of greed
And I made sure every door stayed locked
Every window blocked, and still You knocked
Come inside this heart of mine
It’s not my own
Make it home
Come and take this heart and make it
All Your own
Take me, make me
All You want me to be
That’s all I’m asking, all I’m asking
(Welcome Home, Shaun Groves)
Yet God did a work in me. He gave His Son to die on the cross for my sins. And now….He sees me clothed in the righteousness of Christ! And I too, look like a newborn babe!
And if that’s not enough, He will one day take this ruined, sinful body and give me a new glorified body. He will take away all that I am missing and make me whole again. And I will never sag, and gray, and wrinkle. I will be who I was made to be forevermore in God’s presence. And I think that is what new life should represent to us all. The hope and promises that we have from God. New babies should help us all see the new life that we as believers will one day have.