Anne Herridge

Sharing God's heart through poetry, prose and prayer

Happy Birthday!

Image by Usman Zahoor from Pixabay

The day of your birth – and in fact every day of your life – is a day of huge spiritual significance. Your name was known in heaven long before it was given on earth.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (Jeremiah 1:5)

A business lunch for city councillors came to an end, leaving an array of delicious leftovers. A friend (and then city councillor) who attended the lunch, decided to take some of the very generous leftover dishes to a nearby park where she knew some of the city’s homeless community would be.

She soon came across the lonely figure of a man who was huddled on a bench, trying to stay warm. She sat with him and offered the food. He could not believe his eyes when she unpacked the still warm, nutritious dishes that had been prepared for city dignitaries. He had not had a hot meal for as long as he could remember, let alone a hot meal like this! Tears spilled down his grimy cheeks in gratitude as he ate and told her that it was his birthday that day. Not having a home or family, his special day had been all but forgotten and he had not acknowledged or celebrated it for many years.

My friend sat and talked with him as he ate. She shared God’s love with him and asked him if she could say a prayer for him before she left, reminding him that God had known it was his birthday even though she had not, and sharing how God celebrated him, not just that day, but every day of the year because God had known him before he was born and had a plan and purpose for his life. As these new friends parted company, the man remarked that this had been the happiest birthday he had ever had. For when God brings you a birthday feast fit for dignitaries with a message of love and acceptance, how can it not be the best day?

The month of October brings several birthdays among friends and family, including my own. As I ponder the significance of our special days, I realise that dates and birthdays are more significant to God than we perhaps comprehend. (Did you know, for example, that God chose to bring the Israelites out of Egypt 430 years to the very day of their arrival there, according to Exodus 12: 40-42? God does not overlook dates!)

As we get older, we usually don’t expect a big birthday fuss, and for many it’s really just another day. Sometimes we hope people will notice and make us feel special, but that doesn’t always happen, and many people spend their birthdays alone. But I believe that birthdays are a big deal to God! He is our Father – our heavenly parent – and he certainly notices and wants us to know how special we are, as he did with the homeless man in the park. It is the day that he chose to send us into the world. The day that was marked on his calendar long before it came to be; the day when his dreams for us began to become a reality; the day the world changed forever!

Ephesians 2:10 tells us that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”. If you created an amazing piece of work, would you hide it away or would you want to show it to the world? We ourselves are God’s work of art! The Greek word for “handiwork” is poiema, which gives us our English word poem, and which also translates as something made by God. So, this verse is saying that we are like a beautiful poem! The Divine Poet has written an exquisite poem, individual and unique – a marvelous creation – purposefully designed for wonderful things! I believe God’s heart is just bursting to show us off to the world and to see his plan fulfilled for us! For as Galatians 1: 15 declares, we have been set apart before birth. As a poet myself, I love to share my work with others, purely for enjoyment. Imagine how much more God enjoys sharing you with the world!

Next time you have a birthday, consider how special you are and remember that as each year rolls by, you are closer to fulfilling your incredible purpose. You were designed and placed here at this exact time because God decreed it. God wanted you here, right now. He has a plan for your life. Heaven is celebrating you, not just on one day a year but every day of the year! You are God’s child and every day ordained for you on earth was written in his ‘book’ before even one came to pass (Psalm 139: 15-16)

It may take many years and birthdays to realise who God intended us to be, or what we are supposed to be doing, but we have the assurance that God has begun a good work within us that he has promised to complete (Philippians 1:6) Each of us is a unique work in progress and God has made a commitment to see us through to the end.

The day of your birth – and in fact every day of your life – is a day of huge spiritual significance. Your name was known in heaven long before it was given on earth. You were born not because “of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God.” (John 1:13) You are meant to be here and are celebrated daily!

Prayer: Father God, thank you for the plan that you have for my life. Forgive me for the days when I listen to the lies that whisper that I have no purpose. Help me to remember that you chose me and sent me into the world as your beautiful work of art, to live and work for your glory as you continue to work within me. Help me to recognise this not only in myself but in others too and to celebrate them and encourage them in these truths. In Jesus Name, Amen.


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