I think it was when Michelle was admitted to hospital on September 9th that it first struck me that the twins being born on the anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities was a very real prospect. Initially I was horrified by the thought as, while I’m not an American, the scale of sheer evil that was unleashed on that day affected me deeply. I didn’t want my twins to be associated with that date.
Therefore, I spent most of September 10th praying and urging Michelle to go into labour (I know it’s not as simple as that!) However, as each hour passed it became more and more evident that the these guys were going to make their grand entrance on the 11th. My emotions at this point were mixed. I didn’t want their birthday each year to be tarnished by the horrors of the past. Yet I was still very aware that God is sovereign and that every day of the twins’ lives had already been planned out and written down by a loving God, including the day of their birth (Ps139v16).
Earlier in the pregnancy as we were still trying to decide what names to give the twins, we used to laugh in the knowledge that God already knew what they were called and that He’d tell us when He was ready to. When we finally settled on their names, we had no idea how prophetically appropriate they were.
Early on the morning of September 11th I received a VERY long text message from Michelle in hospital. It was so beautifully godly, powerfully true, gospel-focussed and faith-inspiring that it completely transformed the way that I was feeling about this being the day for my twins to be born.
Here’s what she wrote:
Why september the 11th?!
I’m not good with the whole news thing, or politics really. I have a fairly simple outlook on things – sometimes to my shame. But something I do know and that we try to teach our children is that in coming out of a recession, as the dust in Haiti is still moving and an ash cloud settles, as memories of terrorist acts still fill our minds, hearts and screens – the world clearly needs HOPE.
On this day our babies arrive with their own tiny message to the world of a huge hope. Our God, the Creator God of the Bible, has not abandoned this world in its desperate state.
As little ‘Ezra’s name tells us – God is our help. 2000 ago God stepped in to human history in a major way in sending His Son Jesus Christ to suffer more than we could ever suffer, to live a perfect, but real, human life and then pay for all our imperfectness in His death on a cross. He did this to demonstrate Father God’s amazing, unchanging love for us – that if we will believe and turn to Jesus and trust Him to take our wrong against a Holy God far away from us, we can become children of God. No longer lost in this crazy world, no longer crying out as orphans, but loved, forgiven and accepted by the One who made us to know Him – forever.
Little ‘Anastasia’ tells us where the hope for this world lies also – her name means resurrection. Jesus didn’t stay dead, He was raised to life – proving Himself to be God and to have broken the power of sin and evil and death in the lives of those who would follow Him. The Bible tells us that He was raised to make us right with God and the hope for all who receive Him is that this life is not all there is. Instead of being cut off from God’s love and life for eternity, we instead will be raised in death to be with Him forever – in perfection. No more tears, no more suffering, no more fear or hopelessness. If we reject this Jesus, we have no such guarantee – we instead face the consequences for our own wrong and rejection of God forever and the suffering of this life will not even compare to a desperate eternity without Him.
Ezra’s middle name ‘Luke’ means messenger and Anastasia’s, ‘Ruth’ means friend. In this day, September the 11th, our own precious little gifts from God tell us that the message this world needs to hear is the one of the friend who in all circumstances of life will stick closer than a brother to those who will call on Him and trust in Him – our God, rescuer and Saviour – Jesus Christ.
Welcome to the world ‘Little Ez’ and ‘Ana-Roo’!
You’re already so loved xx
Profound isn’t it?!
The gospel of God’s phenomenal grace to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus frees us from the chains of fear and regret, empowering us instead to live in newness of life and face the future with hope and security. Our God is a life-giving God, a giver of good gifts, and as the empty tomb reminds us – the victorious champion over Satan, sin, evil and death!
Therefore, rather than allowing the terrors of 9/11 to taint the day that Ezra and Anastasia entered our broken world and joined our joyful family, we’re going to allow the gospel to redeem the day.