Today is our grandson Benjamin’s fourteenth birthday. Benjamin is our first grandson. What an amazing young man he has become! He has changed so much physically this last year that it is always a bit of a surprise when we see him again. Benjamin is taller than his mother and as tall as his dad, and I think he will soon surpass him in height. He’s got a mustache already and his voice is so low that every time I hear him, I think I am hearing his father. With his dark good looks and quick smile, he will be a heartbreaker someday!
Add to those good looks a bright, intelligent mind (he loves history and science and is a straight A student in all his studies), his creativity, his love of music, and a sweet, easy-going, pleasant personality and he is a son and grandson that any parent or grandparent would be proud to claim. And of course, we are!
As awesome as all these characteristics are, however, they are not what make Benjamin so inspirational to us. For years we have been amazed at the spiritual maturity we have seen in him. Benjamin’s love for God’s Word is evident as he never fails to read and study and memorize and talk about it every day. His understanding of God’s Word is made clear as he asks and answers questions about spiritual things that would stump many older Christians. He has taught Sunday School classes and led devotions already at his young age. We see his application of God’s Word in how he lives his life with kindness, patience, humility, helpfulness and forgiveness toward others. There is not a doubt in our minds that Benjamin will go on to live his life for the Lord in whatever path He leads him. It would not surprise us in the least if God’s will for Benjamin was in the ministry somehow.
God created Benjamin the way he is, but He used his parents as models and teachers to mold and lead him in the ways of the Lord. David and Julie are amazing parents and are doing a wonderful job with all three of their children. What is so funny to us is to see how like his father Benjamin is. He has his dad’s good looks, his [rocket scientist] dad’s intelligence, his dad’s quiet, pleasant personality and his dad’s love for the Lord and spiritual things. It is not surprising to us that Benjamin is so amazing, as his father David is an amazing man, as well.
This has been a difficult week for David—a difficult month, really. He has struggled with a severely herniated disc in his back that totally flattened, and came close to severing, his sciatic nerve. He has been in bed for weeks, unable to work and barely even stand or walk. He had surgery on Thursday and, praise the Lord, it looks so far that the surgery was a success. The hard part now will be to keep from re-injuring himself as he heals. We are praying he will be able to travel sometime in March or April to the Ukraine to finalize their adoption of Oleg, a fourteen year old orphan over there.
The pain David has suffered has been excruciating. The inability to do his job, help Julie around the house and be active as he always has been, has been even more difficult. He did not lie in bed moaning and complaining, though, or asking God, “Why me?” He did not focus on himself and his problems, but instead continued to search for ways to help others, even in his crippled state.
We were surprised to get a letter from David, this week. Well, actually, he wrote it to Bob. He was writing to tell him that while he was lying in bed these weeks, the Lord had opened his eyes to how living with a disability must be, and that he was beginning to understand how Bob must have struggled all these years with his loss of hearing. Bob’s hearing has gotten worse lately, and David wanted to help him get hearing aids. Bob and I both cried as we read those words. Here was David, in terrible pain, yet thinking about his father-in-law and sending a sacrificial gift to help him. That is the kind of man David is and that is why Benjamin is growing to be a man like him.
The Bible has much to say about fathers and sons. There are many examples of good fathers and bad fathers; good sons and bad sons. There is the relationship of the Father and Son. There is instruction to fathers on how to raise their sons, and instruction to sons on how to respond to their fathers.
- Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
- Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you… And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:1, 7)
- For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. (Proverbs 3:12)
- My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother. (Proverbs 6:20)
- A wise son heareth his father’s instruction. (Proverbs 13:1)
- A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. (Proverbs 10:1)
- Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
- Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (Exodus 20:12)
The best way for fathers (and mothers) to be examples and role models for their children is to lead by example in word and deed. Our children will not believe what we try to teach them if they do not see us living out what we preach. As Benjamin has seen the example of his father’s life before him, he has followed his lead and is becoming a man after God’s own heart and an example himself of what a godly young man should be. The best advice I could give Benjamin today on his birthday is this: Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (I Timothy 4:12)
Happy Birthday, Benjamin! We love you and are so proud of you!