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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)

TITLE: A Growing Boy
By Alan Zimmerman


There is an unappreciated miracle in being a baby. Iím not talking about the miracle of the birth itself, but rather that part that comes with growing up. When a baby is born, an amazing array of forces comes together to raise the child. His mother feeds him, his father holds him, his brothers and sisters play with him. And he grows and grows. Itís almost automatic. And the baby learns quickly. He naturally cries to be fed, but he soon figures out that crying is good for just getting some old fashioned attention. His parents teach him to talk and walk. But even more of his learning comes from just looking and listening and mimicking what the people around him do.

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 Ė Iím sure it happened even though I donít remember any of it. I donít remember the day I was born. I donít remember the first time I cried so someone would pick me up. I donít remember anyone feeding me. I donít remember the first time I crawled or took my first step or when I said my first ďmamaĒ or ďdada.Ē I donít 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 didnít automatically grow. Where was my family? My physical family was still there, but they werenít 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 wasnít necessary Ė I had the Bible and thatís all I needed. I didnít 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 didnít 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 didnít know it at the time, but this was the ďfamilyĒ I had been missing. They welcomed me and I started looking and listening at how the behaved. It seems most werenít 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 Ė 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 Ė 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? Itís hard to say because physical babies naturally grow up and they get as big, probably bigger, than their parents. But it doesnít matter how much I grow spiritually, Iíll never be as big as God. Iíll 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, Iím not a Christian adult, Iím not even a Christian. I still need my Fatherís 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, ďMy, look how heís grown.Ē

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Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Tilson08/27/09
I really liked your piece. How we all need to focus on growing in Him daily and how much we need each other also. Good job.
Mildred Sheldon08/28/09
Fantastic. I loved this very much and one thing I have learned is that no matter how old you are you are constantly learning and growing in Christ. All thanks to God above for His sustaining love.