The World Welcomes Emma
What Kind of World Are We Preparing for Future Generations?
If you will permit me I am taking the liberty of writing an unashamedly self-indulgent blog. I don’t do it often, but today is one of those days. Last Tuesday, August 11, at 2:25pm my first granddaughter, Emma Ryan Kittleson was born. She and my daughter are healthy and happy to be together. I invite you to say a quick prayer of praise and thanks to God, the author and creator of life.
Today my thoughts are stretching in two directions. The first is the question of what kind of a world little Emma is entering. As I look at this innocent, fresh, unsuspecting, pink little face I wonder how the decisions of courts, congresses and churches will shape her future?
What kind of world are we preparing for her? How will the actions and attitudes of God’s people mark the culture into which she will grow up? And what responsibilities do we have, do I have, to speak into the fashioning of the contours of that culture and future?
There is no doubt she has been born into a world of cultural confusion and growing moral vicissitude. What kind of world will she encounter when she is seeking her identity at 12 or looking for love at 16 or discerning her calling at 21? What will it mean for her to follow Jesus in 2035? To build a Christian marriage in 2045 or guide her children in their faith journeys in 2055? And when she asks me about what I said and wrote and how I lived in 2015 that gave shape to her world, what will I say to her? What will you say to her?
We are creating the future into which she will live by the decisions we make. Decisions to be lovers or haters, influencers or bystanders, change agents or compromisers. She has yet to say a word, yet her future inquiry rings in my ears as I hold her and consider my response.
My second thought goes to God’s amazing love and absolute sovereignty. There I find my peace, knowing that for all our speaking and writing and living, the future belongs to Him. If we will be faithful, He will be there for her from this day until the day He takes her home. This brought me to a favorite poem by Kahlil Gibran.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
My prayer is that, for Emma’s sake, we will be stable, faithful bows in the Archer’s hands!
God bless you, Emma, and welcome!