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Madelyn (Maddy) Akin

Madelyn (Maddy) AkinTo the right is a picture of my new daughter, Madelyn (Maddy) Akin.

My wife and I were expecting a beautiful baby girl around September 12. God had different plans. Because of complications brought on by PIH (Pregnancy Induced Hypertension) little Maddy came seven weeks early. This provided quite a scare for her mother and me. Maddy weighed 3 pounds 3 ounces and was 15 inches long. Our little girl is quite a fighter. She is very little and has immature lungs, but she is maturing quickly. Mom has improved quickly and her blood pressure has come back down.

So many thoughts run through a new father's head as he contemplates the meaning of fatherhood. Most church folks tell me that I will have new perspective on God's love for His Son and for us. As you hold your first child and tear up at how much you love this little one (all three pounds of her) you are spellbound by the fact that God would love you more and would give his Only One to save the lost. The Bible clearly teaches that family life points to realities about God's relationship with man. God designed marriage to point us to the one-flesh relationship of Christ with His church (Gen. 2; Eph. 5). God designed the fruitfulness of childbearing in a marriage relationship to point to the multiplication which results from the relationship of Christ and his church (Gen. 1; Psa. 127; Mat. 28). It's no mistake that Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be "born again" to enter the kingdom of God. It's no mistake that Paul calls a new Christian a "new creation" (2 Cor. 5).

It is also no mistake that Jesus tells his misguided disciples to let the "little children come" (Mar. 10). As the disciples harass parents who bring their children to Jesus, he gets "indignant" with his disciples. He tells them not to hinder the little children. He tells them that if they want to enter the Kingdom of God, then they have to become like a child! As I stare at this little miracle, whose head is smaller than a tennis ball, whose head I hold in the palm of my hand as I feed a bottle to her, and as she grips my wife's finger so tight her little knuckles show white, I do learn anew what Jesus meant in Mark 10. This little girl is so helpless and dependent. She can barely do anything for herself. She relies completely on her parents (and the nurses and doctors) to take care of her every second. That is how we should (must) come to Jesus. We cannot come in our own strength. As we mature and become "wiser" we seem to forget this, and we seek to live life based on our own strength.

If you were to ask the "average person on the street" how they can have a right relationship with God, most would tell you that you need to be a good person, do good works, etc. It's kind of like one of my favorite oldies songs "Last Kiss." A boy and a girl on a date get into a car wreck and the girl dies. The boyfriend sings:

Where oh where can my baby be?
The Lord took her away from me;
She's gone to heaven, so I got to be GOOD;
So I can see my baby when I leave this world.

That's where most people are on reconciliation with God. We depend on our own work to get ourselves into a correct relationship with God.

Self-sufficiency and self-dependence are first class tickets to Hell. You want to come proud. You want to come as a mature adult. Then, Jesus says you don't get to come. If you want to come to Jesus, then come dependent and utterly reliant, like a child. That is faith! Maddy is a reminder to me, not only of the goodness of God in creation and pro-creation, but of the goodness of God in new creation! As I look at this little girl who has wires and tubes attached all over her tiny body I am reminded that this little blessing entered a world under a curse, the curse of sin and death. And yet, two thousand years ago another prayed-for child was "born of a woman" and he became a curse in order to destroy the curse. He laid three days in a borrowed tomb, and on the third day, the curse was undone because the new creation of God stood up and walked out. Paul reminds us that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." How does one become a new creation? Come like a helpless child to the one who conquered the curse and ushered in the new creation. As I look at my little girl, Maddy Akin, I am reminded as she acts with me I am to act with Christ. And if I come in dependence to Christ (and if my little girl comes in dependence… as her mother and I will pray everyday of her life that she does), then I will hear the words uttered first at the Jordan River and later at the empty tomb, "this is my beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased." My wife and I pray that this little handiwork from God, who is fighting and maturing everyday, will remain dependent on her Maker and one day experience the new creation of God in His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, where the book says, "there will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.'"

Jonathan, Ashley, and Maddy Akin