67 days ago, I became an uncle.
On Thursday, 20th day of October, my one sister was delivered of our parents’ first grandchild.
The child’s Father comes from an ethnic group in Nigeria with a very expressive language. As a result, seven days after his birth, my nephew was given many names – many lengthy names. Amidst these were one foreign – Daniel – and a couple from my ethnic group; one of which is a name I also bear. So yes, my first nephew is my namesake and I think it is perfect.
Several times during his very early days, I have watched Daniel cry. Some have been in request to be fed, others have been in response to his discomfort when being bathed, when his hair is being combed – he seems to have so much hair for a two month old – when the weather is humid and warm, or when he gets sleepy. I have also watched him stir in his sleep and sometimes wondered if he waved at angels in his dreams. His intriguing reactions to light and sound have also caught my attention a few times. In these few days, I have watched Daniel do things I believe to be common with newborns. I have watched him live majorly dependent on the care of his mother.
Daniel knows so little of the world he has just entered. He can’t discretely communicate his needs, except by crying and leaving one to decipher what it may mean. Despite having lots of friends, Daniel knows no friends.
Anyone who sees Daniel smiles at him. He is the son of his father, they say. They also say he looks three months older than he is. I once heard a man say “Okunrin meta” which literally means ‘three males’ but would figuratively imply something more favorable I believe.
Daniel grows quickly. Soon he will walk, and then he will talk well enough to be easily understood.
Soon also Daniel will have friends he recognizes, chums he can hang out with in his best cloths or neatly pressed school uniforms.
As he grows older, he will grow to have not just friends to hang out and play with but those to do life with. And with the right influence, He will be able to tell what is and is not best for him.
All of this and more will be, if God wills.
Do you read this as someone who’s just found God through Christ? Then I’d love you to for a minute picture yourself as Daniel, only spiritually this time.
You are newly born in the Spirit of God. At your birth you knew so little of God’s world: His person, His ways, His love, His promises, His blessings, His being; you, for the first time, took in the oxygen of His world without knowing what it was.
You have begun drinking the milk of His world from His breast without realizing the wonder it birthed in you. You have been bathed a few times and will be more bathed in the water of His word. Sometimes it made you cry but it ultimately brought you liberating joy and relief.
You sit, walk and live in the company of His Spirit and of His angels without knowing. They sit with you, speak with you, stand by you, smile at you, and seek your safety as a baby, even when you fail to recognize them.
God Himself became your Father, Mother, and source of livelihood, even when you failed to recognize Him as such. You knew so little of Him, yet He loved you, even more than Daniel’s mother could ever love him.
When you had needs, you struggled to communicate them to Him. All you did was cry. And He responded in kind manner.
Maybe today, all you still do in time of need is cry.
Cry, baby cry.
He often bypasses the words of your mouth and listens first to your heart which informs Him of how dependent you are on Him.
So, baby cry. For soon you’ll seize to cry all the time, and maybe begin to babble, and soon after begin speaking in clearly defined speech with better vocabulary – the vocabulary of the Spirit.
After a while, you’ll become grown enough to recognize whom your real friends are – those who have a positive influence on you – whom you should keep; and those who only ever aim at making you a shadow of yourself – whom you should steer clear of.
Again, soon you’ll find partners, companions, those with whom you’ll build your life and bring other babies to life.
But now, while you are still a baby, cry. Let no one pressure you into acting like an adult. Only listen when they try to teach you to grow. Soon, your Father Who is in heaven, by His Spirit, Words and Gifts, will teach you to live and talk like an older child, then a young adult, then a parent.
And when He teaches you to grow, do not say no. Grow in Him, learn of Him and become more like Him.
And hopefully in growing you will begin to comprehend what it took for the God above to come give Himself for you and that will move you to give yourself wholly to Him too.
But now, while you are still a baby, cry.
Ideally, a picture of Daniel should be the feature image for this post, but Daniel’s father isn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of having his son’s picture on the internet. So I had to find an alternative.