Woman Gives Birth After Marathon

The headline grabbed my attention. Amber Miller signed up for the Chicago Marathon in February before she knew she was pregnant with her second child. As her due date neared, she consulted her doctor who gave her permission to compete in the race so long as she walked half of it. She finished the race in six hours, 25 minutes and 50 seconds. She crossed the finish line around 3 p.m.; she delivered a healthy, seven pound girl seven and a half hours later. She was heard to remark that the race was definitely easier than the labor!

A couple of thoughts come to mind. I can’t imagine running, walking or crawling 26 miles all at one time, much less 37 weeks pregnant! I would be concerned that the race would harm the baby, but doctors agree that the amniotic fluid is amazingly protective of the baby. In addition, this story caused me to think of our current church situation.

Since the beginning of 2011, 13 babies have been born in our congregation, including twin boys early Monday morning this week. Eight more babies are expected to be born in the coming months. God has blessed us with these children, and I want to remind us that with this privilege comes great responsibility.

I am reminded that one of the most important means of evangelism for us is our children. It is our calling from God to do everything in our power to nurture our children in the faith, to teach our children the unconditional love of God, to help our children understand the Scriptures, to be God’s tangible presence in their lives. We will fulfill God’s calling on us only as we intentionally plan to fulfill His calling.

It’s because we are attempting to raise children who grow up to be lifelong followers of Christ and His Church that we spend time and energy and resources in Sunday School, Wednesday evening clubs, WKFM, youth group and youth events; it’s why we staff a nursery and offer children’s church; it’s why we want our children and youth to be acolytes, to be involved in ministry; it’s why I am often moved to tears when we kneel at the altar for prayer and children kneel beside me. It’s why we are patient with the youth group when they are involved in activities we might not like or sing songs we might not sing or make some messes we would rather not see. It’s also why we want to create a loving, caring, welcoming atmosphere as we encounter our children and youth at all times.

I am reminded of the many times in the Old Testament when God reminds Israel that He cares for the most vulnerable of society—the ones that society tends to view as insignificant to what’s most important. I am also reminded of Mark’s account of Jesus in 10:13-16.

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

God has blessed us with many children and youth. Let’s commit ourselves together to do all that we can to lead them to Jesus.