For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.
I will ever praise you. (Psalm 71:5-6)
While I may not have had an ideal upbringing, faith was certainly a key component in my life from before birth. I have many people to thank for this, including my mother. Also her mother (my Grandma McPeak), who would often read Bible stories to us grandchildren from a big hardcover picture book.
My sister April and I would go to church with our grandparents and Uncle Geoff. We would sit in the back seat and talk about the things we saw outside the window. The first one to see the church would holler – “I first it.” The other would say, “I second it.” On and on until someone said, “I eight it!” Then we would laugh outrageously at the concept of eating a church.
The church where we worshiped was called First Mt. Pleasant Baptist. They placed a premium on fiery preaching from the King James Bible. They had an extended altar call for sinners to repent (while the congregation sang “Just As I Am”). People came forward to receive Christ and be born again. Evidently, they had a notion that the “age of accountability” was around first grade, because that’s when both my sister and I came forward – responding more to a fear of going to Hell than with faith in the grace of God through Christ.
Yet, I am grateful for my faith upbringing. I was able to develop daily disciplines of prayer and Scripture reading. More importantly, I cultivated the value of having a relationship with Jesus Christ that provided me a solid anchor of hope as the world collapsed around me.
Not everyone is born into a family of faith, but the promise of these Psalm verses is that God takes us from our mother’s wombs. While it helps to have a faith heritage, there is no “grandfather clause” in our covenant with God. Each of us is invited into a personal relationship with Christ that lights the ways through dark valleys and inspires us to offer up praise throughout our days.