William Wells Denison was born yesterday at 10:20 am in Dallas, Texas. He is the second son of Craig and Rachel, our younger son and his wife. Craig is the author of First15 and Chief Strategy Officer for our ministry. Janet and I are thrilled for them and our entire family.
Meeting my fourth grandchild yesterday (they will call him “Wells”) was a deeply emotional experience for me. I was filled with gratitude to God for the miracle of his life and so happy for Craig and Rachel. Janet already has a Christmas stocking with his name on it hanging by our fireplace. Our family is so blessed and truly grateful.
The two most important days in our lives
It’s been said that the two most important days in our lives are the day we are born and the day we discover why. I disagree. The two most important days of our lives are the day we are born and the day we are born again.
God was Wells’s father before Craig was. The One who “determines the number of stars” and “gives to all of them their names” (Psalm 147:4) knew his name before we did. The Lord told Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me” (John 10:14).
God made Wells for himself. He made him for eternal life with his Father in heaven. He made you and me for the same reason. He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to salvation (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4).
A train painted like Air Force One
George H. W. Bush was eulogized yesterday at his home church, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston. His body was then taken to College Station, Texas, where it was interred next to his wife, Barbara, and their three-year-old daughter, Robin.
The president’s remains were transported from Houston on a train specifically built to honor his life. The Union Pacific train was led by a locomotive dubbed “Bush 4141” and painted to resemble Air Force One.
Like most Americans, I was deeply moved by the tributes to our forty-first president across this week. His integrity, humility, and strength were on display for the world to see, reminding us of the best of America. If he could have seen the tributes and heard the eulogies, he would undoubtedly have been deeply moved as well.
However, one moment after his physical death last Friday, he found himself in a realm so far transcending our fallen world that it defies description: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT). He was well, and he was home.
The place to which Jesus took him (John 14:3) is not just glorious beyond imagining (Revelation 21:23-24)–it is permanent. People in heaven or hell are there forever.
I once heard eternity described this way: Imagine that a hummingbird transports a tiny speck of dirt from earth to the moon once every thousand years. By the time it has moved our entire planet, eternity will have only begun.
A lesson from Pearl Harbor
Here’s the problem: It’s hard for humans to understand the eternality of eternity. We live in a time-conditioned existence. We experience the universe as past, present, and future. No moment is permanent for us. There’s always something next.
We are like an unborn baby that is safe and secure in its mother’s womb and cannot possibly imagine life outside her body. If we were twins and could speak to each other, we would believe one another to be the only people that exist except for our mother.
And we would experience her only in oblique ways. She gives us life, but we wouldn’t truly understand that fact. Nor could we imagine life with her as she intends it for us.
If someone could explain to us the process of birth, we would refuse it if we could. To be taken from the only world we know into an unknown realm filled with realities we cannot imagine would seem to be like death. But in fact, it would be the beginning of new life.
As our mothers gave us life, our Father gives us eternal life. As we were born into a new life, we are born again into an eternal life.
The permanence of eternity means that we must be ready for death today. As our nation remembers the attack on Pearl Harbor seventy-nine years ago, we are reminded that tomorrow is promised to no one.
We have only this moment to prepare for eternity. If you’re not sure Jesus is your Lord, trust in him as your Savior today. If you’re not sure you’re ready to meet God, get ready.
And help everyone you know be prepared as well. Your vocation is God’s calling. Where you work and live is your mission field. Make Jesus the King of your time, resources, and influence. Live every day as if it were your last day. One day, you’ll be right.
“This symbol of our nation’s spiritual life”
On September 29, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt laid the foundation stone for the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. Exactly eighty-three years later, President George H. W. Bush was present when the final stone was laid in place. Twenty-eight years later, his body would be returned to this magnificent structure for his state funeral.
The remarks President Bush delivered when the cathedral was completed were prescient: “We have constructed here this symbol of our nation’s spiritual life, overlooking the center of our nation’s secular life, a symbol which combines the permanence of stone and God–both of which will outlast men and memories.”
The president’s statement was accurate on earth–stone and God outlast human bodies–but not in heaven. Ten thousand millennia after our tiny planet has vanished, taking the National Cathedral and all other stones and structures with it, George Herbert Walker Bush will be in heaven with God.
Does anything matter more to you than being ready to join him?