My Dear Boy,
It is late in the night, and tomorrow is your baptism. As I often do, I have let myself be tossed about by the busyness of life, and I have not given adequate attention to what matters most. I wish I had been home to tuck you in and pray for you tonight. Please forgive my absence. I know you will.
Please indulge me as I emote and ramble a bit. It is the end of a long, tiring week, and I still have much to do before my head finds a pillow tonight. However, I find myself necessarily distracted by beautiful songs that are praising the God who said He would come, and did come, and is coming again soon. My heart is both heavy and light at the same time thinking about it, and it is hard to see the screen through my tears.
I have not properly taken time to process what is taking place tomorrow. You are going to be baptized, my son. I do not know if you fully understand what that means, but I am confident that the same Spirit that stirred over the waters forever ago is stirring in your heart. I am so deeply grateful to God for this.
Let me be clear – Baptism is not what saves you. A loving Father sending his beloved and divine Son down to die and raise again is what saved you. The penalty of your sin went with Him to the grave, yet it did not rise again. Tomorrow you will declare to the world that this is true. Like our Savior, you will symbolically enter that watery grave and raise up, washed and refreshed in the light. It will be a day that each of us will remember for all of our days on this earth and for eternity to come.
Excuse me while I take a minute to bawl my eyes out.
One thing about being a human in a fallen world is that it is very difficult to truly think about other people. Even now, my tears (which are strangely both sorrowful and joyful) are for myself. I am thinking about how much I do not deserve even this grace, the grace that even one of my children would have their hearts awakened and sealed by the Holy Spirit. I think the sorrow comes from knowing how hard the journey is going to be.
But like I said, those thoughts are about me and my path. It is unfathomable that the only being who ever could truly empathized was the one who is least like us, but became one of us. To paraphrase the passage from Hebrews, Jesus is the only one who truly knows how hard the journey of life can be. God himself walked this earth and was scorned. We should expect no better. But the beauty is that Jesus knows. Life is hard, but Jesus is enough.
I have hopes and prayers for you, son. I pray Colossians 3 over you, that you would set your eyes on Christ, seek to kill the sin that would seek you to doubt the truth of God’s goodness toward you, and put on Christ. Let His Word dwell in your richly, and be overwhelmed in thankfulness. I see flecks of this gold you now, and I pray that God continues to chip away the rock and renew you in the gilded image of your Creator.
As every father since Adam, I have higher hopes for you than I have attained myself. There is a bit of foolhardiness wrapped up in hypocrisy in that sentiment. What I should hope for myself is to have faith that God will keep you and persevere you to the end, which that end can only be glorious. I pray that by God’s grace you will have that faith.
I love the man who you are becoming. You protect your siblings. You seek to honor and obey us. You love good books. Your heart is tender. Your prayers are genuine. You love beauty and see the world with wonder. Your jokes are finally funny. Your favorite music is anything George Strait or heavily-censored Hamilton. You will be an excellent husband and father one day. I wept when I held you on the day of your birth. I weep again thinking of your new birth. What overwhelming grace that you are not only my son, but my brother in Christ!
Time for Dad to take another break.
As I am concluding my letter to you, this beautiful refrain is playing in the background, and I think it is a good place to end. The refrain is:
“Behold! The lamb of God, who died and rose again.
Behold! The lamb of God who has come to take away our sin!”
As I tell you often, I love you with my whole heart, and tonight it does truly feel whole.