Life. From God’s Perspective.
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds; livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1:24-26.
“Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth Thou hast for me.” I remember learning that hymn for my Brownie Scout Installation Ceremony in second grade. There is a wealth of meaning in that sentence. Truth is a good word, but sometimes it is an incredibly painful word, too. When God grips one’s heart with an uncomfortable truth, it becomes impossible to “un-see” or to “un-know” what He has revealed. Truth becomes impossible to escape.
I believe we live in a culture that does not like to face the fact of “truth,” when it is inconvenient. In our politically correct America today we have such an institution of doublespeak* that I am dizzy with trying to un-complicate words that should not really be complicated at all. For example, there is a very sad reality of easy abortion, but we don’t want to use that offensive word. It is way too negative. We call it “women’s healthcare” and “reproductive rights” so that we can obscure the fact that a mother can so easily rid herself of an unplanned baby.
My own daughter called me this past October and I could barely understand her as she was sobbing into the phone. Her second child was one week shy of her first birthday, and my daughter Betsy had just learned that she was expecting another baby. This was definitely not her plan. I admit I cried with her wondering how in the world she would manage a full-time job and another baby—three little people under three-and-a-half years.
God did mercifully help me comfort her. I spoke with my brain rather than my heart (Thank you, Jesus) when I told her, “God does not make mistakes. I don’t understand this either, but we have faced a lot tougher things than this. It is going to be okay.” As the months went by and the sonograms appeared, we began to call him by his name, Smith. He became a real, little, living, breathing person to us long before she gave birth to him on June 13. When they rushed him off to the NICU because of lung issues, we were all devastated because we so wanted him to be okay, to know his two sisters, and to just be part of the happy chaos that is the daily fare at the Bailey house.
For people who were not thrilled at the thought of his birth all those months ago, any one of us would have walked through fire for him. We desperately wanted him to be okay. Looking at his perfect little body on that day, I do not think I have ever been more in awe of God’s power to create life. He does indeed “knit us together” intricately and uniquely in our mother’s womb.
The fact that God is the supreme Life Giver struck me again as I visited with Stephanie Billingsley this month. What a calling she has. When I reread the Creation story in Genesis, I was aware—almost uncomfortably—with the truth that we human beings were gifted with an extraordinary God-given trust to be stewards of the world God created. He values life and He designed the creatures with which we share our world. Do they have souls? I don’t know, but my number one recollection of gorgeous paintings in the Louvre is the one of the Wedding Feast of Cana. It is a massive work. I recall there was a dog in the bottom left corner and he did seem to be a pet. He actually looks a lot like my grand-dog, Miles Bailey. I hang on to the fact that one of my former pastors, Derek Thomas, believes there will be dogs in heaven. And after working on this issue, I believe there might be a few horses there, too.
Stephanie Billingsley has been called to a unique ministry. I am so glad she learned the truth and was willing to step outside her comfort zone to do what God called her to do—and it wasn’t necessarily what she had planned.
How like God. He does tend to have His own ideas.
*Doublespeak is language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words.