In the morning hours of Sept. 15, 2001, a baby girl lay on a table, crying her heart out. At the sound of my voice the baby went still and turned her head to me and reached out. She grabbed the first finger on my hand and didn't let go. I was torn between the joy of my firstborn child and the sorrow of knowing the events of 9/11 had happened just a few days before. “What a time to bring a child into the world,” I thought. She just held my hand and listened for my voice.
Our home is filled with pictures of the girl who held my hand as we walked in the snow, on the beach, and down trails at Bays Mountain. Last spring in Washington, D.C., she led me by the hand through the National Gallery of Art. She never let go. And now, she takes it in stride that her graduation ceremony won't be like others, that she won't have a senior prom or a senior trip. She just adapts; she plops down on the couch, calls her little dog, puts her feet in my lap and looks me in the eye.
I realize as I process the maturity with which she takes this news, that she was born for a time such as this. She and her entire generation. As they head out into the world, the challenge the Apostle Paul laid before Timothy rings true today:
“4 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. ... 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (II Timothy 4: 1,2,5)
In an age when so many will weep over their misfortunes, more than ever we need people who will speak to the truth of the Gospel without flinching, and with the hearts of teachers and preachers, bear up under adversity and prosper in it. My daughter, you and your generation are ready to do His work. Remember to hold on to Him, stand tall, and let the world bring it. You are ready.
Mike Beverly is senior minister at Indian Springs Christian Church in Kingsport.