Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)
TITLE: A Growing Boy
By Alan Zimmerman
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In what seems like no time at all, this helpless baby can communicate, navigate, congregate, commiserate, and even celebrate! All this time he grows and grows like nothing can stop him.
I was like this baby – I’m sure it happened even though I don’t remember any of it. I don’t remember the day I was born. I don’t remember the first time I cried so someone would pick me up. I don’t remember anyone feeding me. I don’t remember the first time I crawled or took my first step or when I said my first “mama” or “dada.” I don’t really remember anything until my infant days were far behind.
Then in 1986 something happened that I do remember. I was on my knees and a great weight was lifted from me. Fear was taken away from me. A feeling of peace came over me. I was born again, not in the flesh like before, but of the Holy Spirit. I was once again an infant - a Christian baby.
But unlike the first time, I didn’t automatically grow. Where was my family? My physical family was still there, but they weren’t the ones to raise me in the Spirit of God. I unwittingly rejected my new family. Although I had a powerful belief in God, I had a just as powerful disbelief in church. From my childhood experience and wisdom, I knew that church was a sanctuary of boredom and irrelevance. It wasn’t necessary – I had the Bible and that’s all I needed. I didn’t need any Christian friends, you know, those self righteous and hypocritical ones you see everywhere. It was me and God and the Bible. So for years I didn’t grow. I was still a baby Christian.
Then, out of a need for friendship more that anything else, I discovered a church in my neighborhood and stopped by for a visit. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the “family” I had been missing. They welcomed me and I started looking and listening at how the behaved. It seems most weren’t self-righteous. They were struggling certainly, but not hypocrites. And this time around, the sermons were lessons that had real meaning. I was starting to grow and learn.
Then I went to a Bible study and Pastor Bob became kind of a surrogate parent. He started by feeding me little bits of scripture – stories about Jesus and the apostle Paul. Before long I was beginning to feed myself. I was playing with other baby Christians and in time I learned to walk and talk in faith. This time around I can remember it though – the part about being reborn, the time of spiritual stagnation, the joy in finding a family, and the hope in growing as a Christian.
Am I finally a Christian adult? It’s hard to say because physical babies naturally grow up and they get as big, probably bigger, than their parents. But it doesn’t matter how much I grow spiritually, I’ll never be as big as God. I’ll never reach that point where I can leave the nest and chart my own path and really be on my own. If I think that, I’m not a Christian adult, I’m not even a Christian. I still need my Father’s love and protection and teaching and counseling, and I always will.
So, I might not be a Christian baby anymore, but I still have a lot to learn and I hope that I will always feel that way. For now, it would just be nice to have my friends say, “My, look how he’s grown.”
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