Just last month, our oldest daughter, Kristin, turned forty and only several weeks later, on Monday, July 13th, Andrew, our youngest child, will turn thirty four. Or said another way, our youngest child will now be more than one third of a century old! That’s really difficult for Janet and me to believe. After all, it seems like just yesterday that we were twenty and getting married! Now, Kristin is twice as old as we were when we got married and Andrew is already four years older than we were when we moved to Indiana back in 1982.
And Jill, our youngest daughter, falls in the middle between the two others. Come January 1st, she will be thirty eight – halfway between the oldest and youngest. Each birthday, Janet and I think about what we wish for the birthday child during the coming year. As far as Andrew is concerned, we are praying for peace and contentment for him. He has been very busy in the corporate world and is in the process of trying to determine what the next season of his life is going to look like. We know that he would love to be married and have a family of his own. Sure, he loves his nephews, but I think that Andrew would really enjoy the experience of being a Dad and raising a family with the woman of his dreams – someone God has chosen especially for him.
Right now, he is busy with his house, his two dogs, interested in his cars and we have spent some real quality time this last year fishing together. When Andrew was a very young boy, I never really thought about what it would be like when he was a man in his own right. I m sure that was because, in part, I lost my Dad when I was only twenty five – Dad was fifty five – so this is uncharted territory for me, as I am already much older than my father was when he passed on.
Hopefully, our entire nuclear family will have many more years together – it is so gratifying to see Andrew and the rest of our children grow into responsible adulthood. Of course, now there is another generation coming up behind our own kids. And so many families these days struggle with all kinds of drama – while we have had our fair share, it is my hope that our family may be spared and lead a more normal life.
The path to peace and contentment, not only for Andrew, but for all of us who are believers, is to put our faith in Jesus and dedicate our lives to serving him. While this may not sound like the most exciting thing to do, we can rest assured that God rejoices when we put our trust in Him. When I was Andrew’s age, I didn’t have the kind of faith that I do now. How I wish that I had come to have a deeper relationship with Christ when I was still in my early thirties! Sure, I was a believer, but I didn’t order my life in such a way to honor God. I hope that all of our children will have deeper and closer relationships with the Creator of everything that had when I was younger.
In my life, I really didn’t grow closer to God until I was in my forties – and many times I think about all the things I could have accomplished if I had led a God centered life even earlier. My birthday wish for Andrew this year is the same as the message that the apostle Peter shared with the Christians of his day. We are told, in 2 Pet. 1:2, “Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.” In honor our our younger generations coming up behind us, tonight’s verse if from the version of the Bible called The Message.
My encouragement this evening is that God wants all of His followers to experience the peace and contentment that only comes from being in communion with Him. My prayer is that Andrew and all the rest of us will continue to grow in our faith as the years add up and we have more desire to live a God centered life. Happy Birthday, Andrew – we are proud of you! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…