It’s a tale of two birthdays. Actually, they are tomorrow (October 21st) but it’s a tradition in our family to celebrate your birth as long and as hard as the people around you will allow it. So, I’m thinking about these two special people today.
The first is Joshua Blake or, as I liked to call him, “Joshie.” Josh would be 6 years old tomorrow and God only knows what he would be like. From time-to-time I catch myself day dreaming about the “what might have been” scenarios. For the brief time I had him, Josh was a joy. At 17 months he was already into baseball and chocolate—favorites for both me and his older brother, Harrison. He had won many hearts with his smile and growing personality. Unfortunately, most of you will never know him and we’ll never know exactly what could have happened in his life. The flip side, I often remind people, is that he’ll never know the pain of braces, a chemistry test or being rejected for a date. And he never had to pay one penny in taxes. I’ll get to see him again someday. In the mean time, we continue to celebrate his birthday because of the precious gift he was.
The other birthday belongs to Ermias—someone I’ve yet to meet in person. Ermias is from Ethiopia and loves school, his church and “football” (soccer to us Americans). He lives there with his mom and other siblings. He is a bright-eyed little boy with big dreams of being a doctor. My family’s goal is to do what we can to get him there. In the mean time, my kids pray that his family will get the goat that they need, the clothes to keep him warm and the food to keep them alive. We adopted him just a few months ago and it was my wife’s idea to find a young boy Josh’s age. It was God who gave us a young man born the same day as Josh.
To me, it’s a wonderful illustration of God’s mercy. I will never get the chance to hold my Josh this side of heaven; I hope to someday shake the hand of a young doctor from Ethiopia. Tomorrow (today), October 21st, both are celebrating life and in that celebration I worship a God of second chances—the God who gives back over and over again. Happy birthday, Josh. Happy birthday, Ermias. Whatever you are doing, I pray that both of you know how much you are loved.
"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten…” Joel 2:25 NIV