Watching Growth Occur!

Watching Growth Occur!

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Any day now, Kathy and I expect to officially become grandparents. Carl and Emily are at the end of her pregnancy. In a few more months, Dale and Janelle, Lord willing, will be having their first child. As we prepare for this monumental change, we are doing things like going through our upstairs storage where there are several bins labeled “Future Grandchildren” and “Sentimental.” Our sons’ baby books are there, and in them we saw records of first words, dates of major firsts (first steps, first teeth, first haircut). Also, we pulled out several special items of clothing, blankets, baby books, and pictures from when they were infants and toddlers. 

Carl’s first words were “da-dee” on January 7, 1999 (he was 5 months old), he walked on September 8, 1999, at almost 13 months old, and first blew a kiss two days later. Dale first laughed out loud on April 15, 1996, at 3 months old, his first word was “da-da” on Father’s Day 1996, and he took his first steps on Christmas Day, 1996, to get to a red car toy. Gary’s first words were “da-da,” “mama,” “bye bye,” “hey,” “uh-oh,” “thank you,” and “boo” all at around ten months old, took his first step on his first birthday, and fed himself exactly one month later. 

Trust me when I say I could produce a lot more facts, figures, and fond recollections from the boys’ baby days. Why did we keep such meticulous records of these formidable moments (though we may have been a bit less attentive to record-keeping with each son)? Their birth and coming into our lives forever changed and blessed us. Looking at them now, it is hard to imagine them in tiny onesies and corduroy overalls swaddled in small quilts that are priceless to us. It has been many years since they started shaving, driving, dating, preaching, and adulting in ways like getting jobs, getting married, and now having their own children.

The Bible repeatedly refers to the church as God’s family (1 Tim. 3:15; Eph. 2:22; 1 Pet. 4:17). Those Christians new in Christ are referred to as “newborn babies” (1 Pet. 2:2), and all Christians were urged to be “infants in evil” (1 Cor. 14:20), innocent in what is evil (Rom. 16:19). Jesus warns against making spiritually “little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:2). So, the New Testament is rife with baby and infant imagery.

It is beautiful to watch spiritual infants grow into mature Christians. You see them taking those developmental steps, growing in Bible knowledge (2 Pet. 3:18), sharing their faith (2 Tim. 2:2), making those wise decisions that reflect proper priorities (Mat. 6:33), and counting the cost (Luke 14:26-35). Those who were there at the beginning, who taught them and nurtured them, share in the satisfaction of seeing them flourish in their living, acting faith. 

We may not have books where we record such things, but God does! He has a book on every one of us (Rev. 20:12). Imagine His sense of pride and joy as He takes note of such growth and development on the part of His precious sons and daughters. He sees what even no one else sees, and He dutifully records it! How proud it must make Him when He watches His faithful children. Parents get that! We’ve been there, though on a comparatively limited scale. 

No matter their age and stage, we continue to observe and make note of our children’s progress. God is no different! May we be children who live to make God proud! 

Neal Pollard
In our first house on Harver Court, Mechanicsville, VA, 1999.

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