I’ve heard several great definitions of grace. One of my favorite is a very simple definition by John Piper: “Grace is the goodness of God shown to people who don’t deserve it.” This simple definition has magnified God’s grace to me. In fact, I’m often unable to appreciate God’s goodness to me because there is so much I feel like I do deserve. I’m entitled. I’m a sinner.
Recently, Cayla and I learned that she is pregnant with our fourth child. I was content and satisfied with three. I love Rilynne, Raegan, and Reece very much and I thoroughly enjoy being their daddy. As with any father of three girls, there is that strong desire to have a son. It’s never a bad thing to balance all that estrogen with a little testosterone, right? Well, Cayla, the girls, and I started asking God to bless us with a baby boy. We did so daily.
On Friday, December 23rd, Cayla went to her eighteen-week appointment. This is the appointment where the sex of the baby is revealed. Cayla and I agreed that she would go alone and inform me of our child’s gender on Christmas Day. Boy or not, this would be a wonderful surprise and gift. On December 22, Thursday, Cayla and I had a brief conversation at lunch. She asked me if I would be upset if the Lord gave us another girl, a fourth girl? In response I said, “I’m fairly confident this one is a boy.” She responded, “What makes you feel/think that way?” This is how I responded:
Over the past month the Lord has been dealing with my heart. One particular day, during my time with the Lord, I was reminded that He delights in giving good gifts to His children. In this case, the blessing of child is an incredibly good gift, regardless of the gender. He has called me to steward this gift well for His glory. His desire is that I make disciples, primarily in my home. If He chooses to be so kind and bless me with a boy, I must remember my duty is to point him to Jesus, not sport. Whatever platform He gives this child needs to be an opportunity to exalt Jesus.
Second, the gift of a boy would allow me to better understand the heart of the Father. Jesus is the One and only Son of God. If this new addition is a male, he will be my one and only son as well. The Father sent the Son on mission to redeem His children – He became the sins of the world in order that we might be reconciled to God. Being privileged to parent my three girls has taught me so much about the deep abiding love of Jesus – I’m left to wonder if having an only son would deepen my comprehension of His love.
The final, and most important, thing I learned in my time alone with the Father is how pitifully sinful and pathetically selfish I am. During this time with the Lord He broke me. He dug deep into the sinful habits of my life and revealed to me some hidden entitlement. I repented before Him. It became abundantly clear – the gift of a child is not one I deserve, much less the gift of a boy. As soon as I confessed, there was a sweet peace that led me to worship in gratitude for the gift, boy or girl, that He has already placed within the womb of my bride. I prayed, “Lord, thank you for dealing so kindly with me. Thank you for being so incredibly patient with me. Thank you for entrusting me with Your child, not my own. Give me wisdom and understanding to point my family to Jesus. Amen.”
Yes, my desire was to have a baby boy. The Lord was keenly aware of that reality. Immediately after I prayed, I felt a peace in my heart that the Lord was going to overwhelm me with His unbelievable kindness. It would be a boy.
I explained to Cayla this is why I’m not curious of the gender. The Lord is stretching my faith and teaching me to trust Him. I’m surrounded by people who are struggling to have child. Suddenly those people became the focal point of my attention, not me. This uprooted the sin in my life. The cry of my heart was centered on me, not Jesus. The Lord corrected all of that and made me grateful for this opportunity, regardless of what the gender may be.
On Christmas Day, unknowingly to me, I opened a gift addressed to me. Inside the box was an adorable University of Georgia outfit with a sonogram of our newest addition. There was one message on the sonogram: It’s a boy!
Whereas I thought I would jump for joy and be overwhelmingly ecstatic; in actuality, I was overwhelmingly humbled and internally grateful – for the Lord has been very kind to me. “Grace is the goodness of God shown to people who don’t deserve it.” Of those people who don’t deserve it, I am chief.