• Steve Hatter
Baby's feet

“He’s here!!!!!”

This was the text message that our family received from our son Drew when his new son, Christopher George, came into the world at 8:02 AM this past Friday. I had anticipated that my wife would be brought to tears when the news came, and Cynthia delivered right on cue. What I did not expect was how strong my own emotions came.

We had, of course, been anticipating the news. Our daughter-in-law had been in labor for many painful hours, and the miracle of instant updates via text messaging kept us on edge throughout the previous night. But when the actual arrival announcement came, something seemed to break loose in my heart. I looked at Cynthia with tears streaming down my face, and I feebly choked out these words in humble honesty: “what is happening to me?” In thinking things through in the days and hours since, I have come to conclude that Christopher—whose name means Christ bearer—coming healthy and loved, was a personal and much-needed infusion of hope.

We all have had much to ponder of late as the global pandemic has ravaged our routines and economy. Then, just as the quarantine restrictions have begun to lift, our nation now seems plunged into what may become an even more profound and consequential crisis. America groans at catastrophic levels under the weight of social and political division.

I battle discouragement in this moment. So much of what I love and have dedicated my life to seems existentially threatened. Yes, I trained much of my life to think and work as a soldier in crisis. As a fighter pilot, I learned to focus on the task at hand and to be disciplined in keeping the mission at the fore. “Keep calm and carry on”—the elegant slogan coined by the British people suffering Hitler’s air blitz in the early days of World War II—does help to navigate the inevitable tough days in life.  Such thinking reflects the biblical value of perseverance taught so well in the New Testament epistles. However, I will transparently admit as I write, I have felt my knees buckling a bit lately.

If you are like me, please keep reading. Wherever you are on the discouragement scale, I pray this blog will serve a personal testimony of hope in which, by God’s grace, you will find encouragement.

With Christopher’s coming, I was profoundly reminded of the miraculous. The moment moved me to awe afresh. I remembered that even though the conception, development, and birth of human beings happens the world over continuously and in mind-boggling numbers, there is nothing routine about any of it. The brilliance of God’s design in all things is there for us to see plainly. When we stop for a moment to look beyond our cares, we can see His majestic attributes revealed everywhere, but I might submit that the creation of new human life proves His heart of love and grace. Such reminding ministered to my discouraged heart, which only God could do for me as an act of His grace.

But then I had another thought. I was dumbfounded to remember that our majestic creator God also condescended to come into this world on His mission to save us just as my grandson Christopher did … through the dramatic labor of a woman. Hebrews 2, verses 14 through 18 speak of Christ’s purposeful identification with His created beings, made in His image:

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2:14-18)

Of course, we must accept such claims by faith, which brings us back to battling discouragement. We have to fight discouragement—even despair, with faith. When all seems lost, we can still choose to believe. But we also have more than enough evidence to believe when we decide to look for it. It is all around us all of the time. We must choose to believe it instead of looking for the negatives—those powerful sound bites and images that bludgeon us at the hands of the world and the enemy.

So here is my message of hope to you. Just as Drew announced Christopher’s arrival to me with “he’s here!!!!!” please allow me to remind you that Christ not only arrived in a similar fashion but also accomplished His earthly mission. We are saved by faith in Him. He now awaits His triumphant return to set all things right.  As believers, we can know, as Hebrews 13:5 reminds us, that He will never leave us nor forsake us.

In short, He’s here!!!!!”