I was forty years old when I gave birth to Caleb. Yep. You read that right.
Caleb Philip, nine pounds and two ounces, nearly 22 inches in length, spiritedly burst into our lives a few days earlier than his expected birth date. No matter. John and I were enraptured with our third born son. From the get-go, Caleb was our joy-boy. His eyes sparkled. His coos, gurgles, and giggles charmed and cheered. Our sweet boy reveled in the adoration of his parents and older brothers. He just seemed happy to be with us and delighted to be here. I believe Caleb felt our love and embraced this love wholeheartedly. In turn, Caleb delightedly responded with great, overflowing measures of joy.
Even today, Caleb boundlessly exudes joy – as he eats, as he speaks, and as he interacts. Yes, Caleb has always been and will always be our joy-boy.
When I observe our kid – laughing, prancing, dancing, and free – I see something special. I see a trace of the divine nature of God. I see a child who knows from the tips of toes to the top of his head that he is fully loved.
Isn’t that great?
Don’t we want our kids to know how loved and treasured they are – every day of their lives?
Somewhere down deep in Caleb’s soul, he has set his sights on something precious and life-giving.
I believe Caleb, even at his young age, has found his joyful confidence, his conviction of belief, and his abiding, sure and fast love in his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. That’s a pretty bold statement for a mother to make about her 14 year-old kid. However, Caleb doesn’t seem to concern himself with life’s trivialities, he’s more focused on the greatest of spiritual pursuits; faith, hope, and love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 says it this way:
And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
Caleb has built his life on his faith in Christ, his hope in eternity and the Kingdom to come, and his love of God and others. He’s needed to. Caleb has some challenges that came through our gene pool in some way. First, he was diagnosed with hemangiomas and underwent seven surgeries in his first three years of life. Later, his speech development showed significant delays and he needed speech therapy. Soon, it was apparent that he had sensory issues and learning challenges. Caleb was diagnosed on the autism spectrum along with an intellectual disability.
But does he care?
Caleb’s focus isn’t on himself – what he can or cannot do. Caleb, somehow grasps that his life and his purpose are found in Jesus Christ and remaining fixed, sure, and in place with Him.
Caleb has a faith that is toward his God.
Caleb has a hope that is fastened upon his Savior.
And Caleb has a love that reaches out to his fellow man on behalf of his love of God. When you meet Caleb, you get a hug from Caleb. Pure and simple. Doesn’t matter how old or young you are (yes, he gives hugs to teenagers), how light or dark your skin color is, what you believe or don’t, how intelligent or simple-minded, or whatever, Caleb doesn’t take stock of these types of things. Caleb sees you – for you.
You see, Caleb’s faith and hope are in line. And because of that, he is free to love and to love generously.
It is my prayer that Caleb will be able to keep this eternally-minded state of being all the days of his life.
This divine state of being is something we all should be setting ourselves towards, don’t you think?
Faith is foundational to our walk with God and to living out His message on earth.
Hope is indispensable to our understanding that we seek the spiritual blessings of eternity – fixing our eyes and hearts on Christ.
When faith and hope are shoulder to shoulder in harmony and agreement, it is little wonder that we are free to love completely, wholeheartedly and without reservation in Christ.
Without faith and hope, it is impossible to love.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit of faith, hope, and love work together to reveal the glorious, divine nature of our God.
Are we people of faith? Do we show our strong, welcome conviction and belief in Jesus Christ?
Are we people of hope? Do we joyfully and confidently convey our delight about being a saved and freed people in Christ?
Are we people of love? Do we love others dearly and seek ways to bless, encourage and strengthen them?
I see faith, hope and love in our son, Caleb. No, he’s not a perfect kid, believe me. But, I see faith, hope and love working together in this sweet, tender-hearted kid. It’s heartening to see and experience, let me tell you! It’s more than a blessing. It’s a tremendous gift of grace from our God.
Friends, we need more of this faith-hope-love gifting in this world.
These three gifts of the Holy Spirit will remain in all eternity.
Faith, hope, and love will abide, continue, tarry, stand and wait for us. These gifts are being offered all of the time to us – will we take hold of them? Because if we do not, love for God and love for others will be impossible.
But it is possible!
If Caleb can do it, we all can!
Would you join me in this prayer?
After all is said and done in my life, it is my prayer that these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love in my relationship with you, with my family, with my friends, and with my sphere of influence. May the faith and hope I have in you reveal your love in boundless ways in my life and may I in turn, direct this precious love to others. I want to be a person of faith, hope and love.