As a pastor, I have the great privilege & pleasure to go to hospitals right after, sometimes during (& right before), babies are born. I have sat with expectant grandparents, paced with worried fathers-to-be, why I have even been there to hold the hand of a mother in labor. (I'll just say, a woman having a contraction will crush your hand without knowing it, & I get excited to be in the waiting room before the delivery.) But, an incredibly memorable time with a happy couple & their baby happened about 14 years ago in Bryan, Texas.
The new-born boy was the first for the pair. The mother, of course, was beaming, & the dad was almost hopping about the room, but the baby drew everyone's attention because of his attire. You see, the father was a third generation farrier. His grandfather & father had spent many years around the bottom of horses, donkeys & mules with hammer & tongs, shoeing the animals. Heath, the new father, grew up around hearths, nails, hoof knifes, & old twisted horse shoes. Even though the shoeing trade could not support him & his new family, & he had to have a full time job away from horses, he was very proud to say that he was a farrier, first & foremost. And so, he had secretly made his son a present for his very first birthday. While his wife slept, he dressed his new son in a brand new leather apron & placed beside him a baby-sized pair of tongs & miniature hammer. He wanted his son to know from his earliest hours that he was born to shoe horses. It was, & is, a family tradition.
Most of us at birth are not given a profession that we must carry through life. In fact, when a baby is born, most people see only the limitless possibilities of this new life. He is going to be president. She will be the doctor who cures cancer. He's going to have that major league baseball career that his dad missed out on. She is going to be the beauty queen that her mother wanted to be. No matter the aspiration or the dream, the sky is the limit. The future is infinite, because this life is new & unwritten.
All of this is possibly true with one exception. There was one boy born who had no choice in the course of his life. His life was chosen & mapped out for him before his great-great-grandparents were born. HIs only choice in life was either to live out his allotted path, or say, "No".
Jesus already knew, from day one, that He would not follow in Joseph's footsteps to be a carpenter. He knew from before HIs first day that He would work & preach, heal & free, argue & suffer, bleed & die for the world. His Father had mapped out what His life & death were to be thousands of years before. His Father had promised that Jesus would be born, would live that perfect life, would help & heal & free His people, & would suffer & die in shame on a cross. It was all planned & cut & dried long before He drew His first breath in that stable in Bethlehem, & Jesus agreed to it all. He did it all for us.
The Bible says that Jesus set aside His throne, His power, His prestige, even His will to come & be our Messiah, our Savior. But He also set aside what each human baby has from the moments it is born, possibility, untold destiny, a future of probably happiness & peace. He even gave up the hope of earthly rest, contentment, satisfaction, & long life, to give us the better gifts of heavenly peace, eternal rest, & a limitless life of happiness with the Father in a new heaven & a new earth. We know this because the Bible says so, just as our Father promised in His word:
"For to us, a Child is born, to us, a Son is given: & the government shall be upon HIs shoulder, & His name shall be called, 'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Gather, Prince of Peace.' Of the increase of His government & of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David & over His kingdom, to establish it & to uphold it with justice & with righteousness from this time forth & forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this."
- saiah 9:6-7
The sky is not high enough now to be the limit because He restricted Himself for us. He gave up HIs rights for us. He denied His own will to spare Himself for us. He delivered Himself to death for us. He rose & declared an open heaven & a full adoption for us. This is our Savior. This is our newborn Son of God.
In HIs Peace, alone,
astor Red Etzel