I’m soon going to switch gears and stop being so mono-themed in the “Bless Your Heart Blog”. I’m going to travel back to Huntsville in a couple of days and quickly get on a plane to Dallas to go and be with the sisters at Farmersville, Texas next weekend. (Looking forward to that!) I am going to put Ezra in his mothers arms, kiss his cheek one final time and leave Montgomery, Alabama and see if I can live without him (for a few days).
But I’m not there yet. Yesterday, as I sat on the pew with Ezra for his first ever worship service, I became keenly aware of the eternality of the little soul beside me. The first congregational hymn sung in his hearing was a clarion call for his newborn life in the service of our king:
“There is much to do. There’s work on every hand.
Hark, the cry for help comes ringing through the land.
Jesus calls for reapers. I must active be.
Ready at thy bidding, here am I. Send me
Here am I. Lord, send Me
Ready at They bidding. Lord, send Me.
I realized that, while Ezra was born into a family of people who are trying every day to be about that mission, one day he will have to make his own choice about his life’s work. One day he will not be strapped into a carseat and carried to services. One day he will not be forced to hear his father preach each Sunday. As His daddy preached yesterday about the identity of the new Testament church, I realized that little Ezra will one day choose whether to become a member of the church, the body of Christ; and that, should he choose to be a Christian, he will face persecution for that choice, just as has every generation of believers. All, including Ezra, of those who live godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (II Timothy 3:12). But I believe Ezra may face persecution like my generation has not seen if he should decide to be a brave soldier in the Lord’s army.
Still, I pray he will. I pray that he will have the chance to face ridicule for a decision he makes one day for the Lord, so that his spiritual muscles will develop. I pray that he might get the short end of the financial stick one day because he will choose to be ethically righteous rather than covetous. I pray that he will miss some ballgames, concerts and business meetings because he will be saying “Here am I. Send me.” I pray that he will be excluded from some groups of his peers because he chooses to abstain from the works of the flesh in which they are engaging. I pray that He will have some chances, every now and then, to stand alone for truth…because it is, ironically, when you stand alone, that you realize that Someone divine is right there with you. I pray that there will come a day when he will marry a woman who wears the meek and quiet spirit—a girl who is willing to fully submit to Ezra, a man of God, as he leads her heavenward. I pray that there will come from that sweet union yet another generation of soldiers who are willing to make sacrifices and pay a price—the ultimate price, if necessary—for His kingdom.
Why is it that a grandmother would pray for her sweet grandson a life filled with uncomfortable situations and remarkable challenges? The answer is in that little word “life”. The measure of Ezra’s greatness does not fully lie within the life of challenges and persecutions and difficult choices. The ultimate measure of his greatness finds its zenith around the throne in the next life. Will Ezra be there? He will be there if he wants to be. If Ezra Lee Giselbach is willing to one day say, “Here am I. Send me,” …if he is willing to spend the short lifetime in the going…then he can have the eternal life in a place where ridicule, persecution, loneliness and exclusion are forever absent.
Why would a grandmother wish and pray this life for her sweet grandson? The real answer is profound in its simplicity. It’s found in the words to the closing hymn of baby Ezra’s first service. May the words of this sweet song be the motivation behind his service for all of his days, for without this truth, all of life is vain.
Jesus loves me. This I know.
For the Bible tells me so.