Ever since our first son was growing (Women are amazing! How do they do that?!), I’ve had it in my mind that childbirth is an act of war against death.
Life vs. death. Life wins.
Let me introduce to you the newest aggressor against death: Silas Anax Banker. His very existence and presence is a statement to the forces of death and destruction that Life has not lost its power. Born during a time where the world is in turmoil. When death, war and disease are flexing their muscles this seemingly weak child lets out his war-cry, “I’m here!”
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. -Acts 16:25-26
Silas, a leader of the early church who was imprisoned with the Apostle Paul, is often depicted holding broken chains. Silas is a powerful name, declaring freedom and life in the face of shackles and death-sentences.
I might as well admit it. I’m a crier. It’s on video anyway, so there’s no use in denying it. As soon as little Silas let out that first screech the tears flowed unhindered. Child birth is an amazing thing. It’s also a scary thing.
Silas’ birth was quick, but not without complication. Where Isaac’s labor dragged on for 68hrs, Silas’ only took 5hrs from beginning to end. It happened so quickly that we didn’t have a chance to get Michelle into the birthing tub. “Baby’s coming!” No time. Get the midwives up here, quick!
We were excited. Baby was on the way…
Then something happened. The atmosphere changed. Our midwives suddenly switched to business mode. Something was wrong. Fear was begging for a hearing.
Silas was stuck. His head was out, why wasn’t the rest of him following? I saw our midwife unwrap the umbilical cord from his neck (it was actually wrapped around him three times). He was still stuck. Things started happening fast. They flipped Michelle onto her hands and knees. Something was wrong. Our midwives were calm, but acting quick. (click here to read about why he was stuck)
Then, he was out. We didn’t know he was a he yet, but there he was! He was grey and not moving. Most people don’t realize how inhuman a newborn can look in those first few moments. He’s not breathing. He looks limp. He’s okay, right? Don’t let the scary thoughts in.
I had been prepped, so I knew that it could take a few seconds to a minute before the child takes its first breath. The perception of time becomes erratic in situations like that. You have no idea how fast or slow things are happening.
“Talk to your baby.” The midwife says as she picks him up and starts vigorously rubbing his back.
“Baby! You made it! You’re here! Let it out little one. Go ahead. Cry.”
Then it happened. It was a piercing, high-pitched screech that made everything okay in the world. Tears.
Silas means “of the forest.”
Anax is an archaic greek term meaning, “king.”
Anax is a reminder of is identity. His value is in his blood. It’s unearned. He was created with unlimited, enduring worth. He is acceptable because he is in the image of the Great King.
Welcome Silas Anax. You’re amazing and there is an amazing future ahead of you.
Two years ago I came back from my last deployment, intentionally not returning to my amazing job at a non-profit where I invested in youth who were having a hard time graduating.
God had told me to pursue ministry full-time.
As in, an occupation.
As in, don’t make your own money, but trust Him for money.
As in, put everything on the line and trust the Unseen to supply the very seen, and felt, needs.
As in, trust someone else to be better at taking care of you, your wife and your baby than you are.
Someone else whom you read about, see dimly, but struggle to remember what His presence feels like and what his faithfulness looks like when you’re not experiencing it at the moment.
Trust that Guy.
You might not be able to pay your bills.
You might lose your home.
You probably won’t be able to buy that gadget.
You might not be able to buy your wife a Christmas gift even though you would love to love her that way.
You might have to cash out your retirement funds.
Your bank account might dry up.
And… then what?
You have spent your time and energy following God and investing in others. Who will invest in you?
I can’t imagine that God is a worse Father than I am…” -Hudson Taylor (paraphrased)
For two years I haven’t told anyone my needs. I have provided a way for them to give if God told them to. George Muller did it for 60 something years. Hudson Taylor financed a revolutionary missionary society that way. Rees Howells, the great intercessor, learned to trust God in this way over the course of his life.
I did it for two years.
Now, I think God is telling me to ask for people to support me. So, here I am.
Honestly, I wanted to keep going without telling anyone anything and just trusting in prayer alone. But, it would be pride, not obedience at this point to keep that up.
Please ask God if you should support us in prayer or financially.
He had lived a promiscuous life in a career that got him a lot of attention. In the end he had formed a sexual addiction. He was in multiple recovery programs and was communicating with his sponsor weekly.
He was still addicted. He would have occasional times of victory, but would eventually fall again.
He had been taught a lie that was making it very difficult to live a victorious life.
His father had a horrible and secret sex life that wasn’t discovered until the kids were old. He communicated to his sons that “Once you’ve sinned, it’s too late.” His father had contributed to the lie he believed.
His sponsors used what was meant for good and twisted God into nothing more than a coping mechanism. “God will help you,” had no more meaning than, “God will help you manage your sin by you coming to these meetings and talking with your sponsor. Healing is not possible, but God can help you keep your sin in check.”
Ultimately, he believed the lie that his sin was more powerful that God. He was scared of getting married because he was convinced that he would destroy his wife. He was a slave to his sin and the only way God could “help” was to keep the slave-master tame with meetings and phone calls to sponsors.
He accused those who had added strength to this lie and forgave them, trusting God for justice on his behalf. He confessed his own part, that he used fear to control his sin (instead of removing it) and believed this lie. It even got to the point where he was trying to gain God’s favor by not sinning. He would pay for his own sins in buckets of guilt and “feeling bad” after every fall instead of trusting in Jesus’ payment.
He rejected this lie and asked God to break its power so that, “I will see through the façade and never buy into that lie ever again.” He asked God to give him a truth to replace that lie.
God told him that “No weapon formed against you will stand. I have already won. It’s already done and has no power.” And, “Even if I sin again, it’s a big lie. It can’t stop God’s good and perfect plan for me.”
After much discussion, including talk about marriage and how sin will bring pain to his future wife, we concluded that the truth that God was giving him was…
God’s bigger than that!
He had hope of healing restored. There is a reason why God healed people in the Bible. He was showing us one of his names.
God’s name is not “Coping”.