Many evenings we would sit on the couch and talk about our plans and dreams all the while with my hand on Teresa’s belly. We talked about the many possible names for both boys and girls, and I remind you at that time it wasn’t always possible to know the sex of the child before its birth. There were names I liked that Teresa didn’t and vice versa. Jokingly, we had affectionately named our pre-born child “Oscar,” now both of us knew this wouldn’t be his or her name after birth. Every day we would talk about “Oscar” and the life ahead for this child. There were also days we talked directly to “Oscar” as if he/she could hear and understand every word we spoke. As the weeks passed we loved this child more and more just as most parents do who are expecting. Funny thing is we did the same type of stuff with our second child except for giving him a pet name.
It’s amazing the depth of love we can have for someone we’ve never met before, and when that first meeting comes the emotions can be overwhelming. When my first son was born, whose name by the way is Joshua and not Oscar, I returned to the father’s changing room and collapse to my knees thanking God for this new life. Five years later with the birth of our second son the emotions were just as strong as my knees buckled and I bowed to God thanking Him once again for the life He entrusted to our care.
After my call to ministry I began a practice of dedicating my preaching Bibles; it’s not uncommon for me to wear a Bible out every few years as I read through it and make notations on various passages. My first Bible was a gift from my wife which I dedicated to my oldest son Joshua, and the second was dedicated to my son Tanner which was given to me on the day of my ordination. In each I wrote a note to them expressing my love for them and the Word of God. In expectation of my sons getting married one day and having children of their own, I've also dedicated other Bibles to the grandchildren I anticipate being born. None of us know what tomorrow holds for our lives, but I want my future grandchildren to know that before they were even conceived they were already loved. Every day I pray for my sons, their future wives and children, and that God will bless and use them in a mighty way to bring glory to His name.
So why have I adopted this practice? Some might even think this odd, but it wasn't so with God. In one sense this is what God has done by giving us His Word. In eternity past God not only knew me by name, but He also loved me dearly just as He does all His children. Throughout the New Testament the expression of God’s love for those He would call seemingly spring off every page. The Scriptures teach us that before the Earth was created, and the universe in which it resides, God had a plan and a purpose for our lives. It blows me away when I think about how He knew everything about me; in His mind I already existed. Knowing every twist and turn of humanity before it happened God still chose to love us, and He provided a way for eternal life and fellowship with Him through His Son Jesus the Christ.
In closing pay special attention to the following passages from Ephesians and Second Timothy. And as you read these verse don’t fall into the trap of getting all caught up in the doctrines of predestination and free will, for if you do you’ll miss the blessing of God’s greatness and His sovereignty.
Ephesians 1:3-5 (ESV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
2 Timothy 1:9 (ESV) who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,
Lastly, just as the words I write in the front of those dedicated Bibles are an expression of my love for my children, and hopefully one day my grandchildren, the Bible is God’s love letter to humanity. The next time you hold His Word in your hands I encourage you to look at it and read it as a love letter written directly to you. It makes a difference!