by David Sisler

There were 15 babies sleeping in the nursery of University Hospital the night of January 8, 2002. I know the name of only one of them. Luke Henry Herrington.

Luke arrived 8 days early, but right on time, weighing 7 pounds, 13 ounces, and measuring 21 inches in length. Soon after his birth he put his left hand into his mouth, actually the index and middle finger of his left hand, signally that he will be a pitcher, the ace reliever, for the 2022 Pittsburgh Pirates.

Luke is eligible for the competition of “Most Photographed Baby.” His Aunt Jennifer stood behind his mother’s shoulders and videotaped for hours. Still cameras and digital cameras flashed endlessly into the night. Rolls of film were dropped off at one hour processors. Diskettes were edited and uploaded to the Internet. Amy and Jack Herrington’s son will have his years thoroughly recorded.

I have a dear friend who (before Luke arrived) was the Ultimate Grandparent. Cathy showed us pictures of Reagan and told us stories about her granddaughter. I teased her endlessly with comments like, “Is Reagan walking yet?” Or, “Has she started college?” And Cathy tolerantly told me, “Your time is coming.” When I sent her an email announcing Luke’s arrival, I titled it, “Let the Grandparent Wars Begin!”

In one of life’s precious serendipities – finding something of great value you did not even know you were searching for – I received an unsigned email this morning entitled “Godly Sorrow.”

I assume the writer contacted me because of another one of these columns he found while surfing the ‘net.

“How do you find, or get, Godly sorrow if it is elusive to you? “If you can’t find it?” he wondered.

I answered, “It's a God job. It's an inside job. Seek and you shall find. If you are concerned about finding it, that is a sure sign God is speaking to your heart.”

A few minutes later there was a reply.

“One other question for you. I need this brokenness over sin. I have a realization as far as a heart knowledge but can't get it to travel the last 12 inches from my head to my heart. My question is this: ‘Jeremiah says you shall find me when you seek me with all your heart. What do you think seeking with all your heart is and what are the hindrances to finding God?”

“I don’t know if I have ever sought God with my whole heart for any substantial length of time,” I said. “‘The human heart is desperately wicked,’ the Bible says, and then asks, ‘Who can know it?’ I have learned – and it has taken a long time for this lesson to sink in – to commit as much as I know about me to as much as I know about the Lord. And then to take baby steps.

“You are on the right path,” I concluded.

He wrote once more and I replied, “This Christian walk is all about growing. And it is mostly about baby steps.”

Then my mind went back to University Hospital and Luke Henry Herrington.

And then to words of Jesus: “Unless you become like a little child, you will not gain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

And then I remembered the baptism, several years ago, of a toddler at the church where I worship. The pastor seated the little guy on the side of the baptismal font, and the baptisee immediately reached down and started splashing in the water. Mark called the boy by name and said, “I want to be like him when I grow up. Always ready to splash into the waters of grace.”

In the days ahead, Luke will grow and each new accomplishment will be a major milestone to us. One day he will hold his head up, and he’ll roll over, and he’ll get onto his knees, and he’ll pull himself up, and he’ll take a step, and he’ll jump fearlessly into his Dad’s arms, and then he’ll go to college, get a job, get married, and have children of his own.

And he won’t remember these early days, but we will.

The times he will tumble over when he is learning to walk will not hinder him from eventually succeeding.

Concerning spiritual things, do you understand that here, too, it is about small steps and little victories and total confidence in the Lord God Almighty? Don’t worry about the giant leaps. Your Father is standing there with his arms outstretched, ready for those first, hesitant baby steps. And if you fall, let him pick you up. It’s his way!


Copyright 2002 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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