The Heidelberg Catechism famously begins: What is your only comfort in life and in death? That I am not my own but belong body and soul, in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ…
Joseph and Sarah, I know that this question and answer are dear to you. And I know that you intend to teach it to your children. The wonderful thing about this catechism question is that it places our hope completely outside of us. Our comfort in every situation stretching from the very beginning of life at conception all the way to our last breath – our comfort is that we don’t belong to ourselves. We are not our own. We have been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus. We are watched over by God our Father, and we are carried along by His Holy Spirit. We have been freed from ourselves, from our sins, from our failures, from the dominion of the devil – and now we belong to the Triune God: Father, Son, and Spirit.
Of course it’s easier to say than to do. Believing this wonderful gospel has daily implications. It means that our time doesn’t belong to us. It belongs to Jesus. Our houses are not ours. Our money is not ours. Our family is not ours. We are not our own but belong body and soul, in life and in death, to our faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
If anything, what makes this so challenging, so difficult is the fact that we serve a God of intense adventure. We serve a God who loves roller coasters and jungle safaris and riding ships into gales on the open sea. We serve the God who keeps count of all the hairs on every head. We serve the God who became one of us and went down into the ground for us. Trusting God with our lives is not hard because it is boring or mundane. Trusting God with our lives is hard because our God is often too exciting for our tastes. He takes risks. He gives everything. He waits to the last minute. He loves to do the impossible.
Joseph and Sarah, in the relatively short story of your family’s life, you’ve already experienced some of this wildness in God. You’ve been on more than one roller coaster ride, and I imagine you’ve felt sick to your stomach a few times along the way. We know that God does not give us more than we can bear, and so I hope and trust that you know that God has designed your adventure, your story just for you. You were made for certain kinds of glory, and so as you ride the waves and burst out of the jungles, you shine with the glory of our Savior. You make this look good.
Alice is living proof that you don’t belong to yourselves but you belong to your faithful Savior Jesus Christ. She has been one of your great adventures. But this is what baptism means. Baptism is God’s claim on us and on our children. Baptism means that we do not belong to ourselves. It means we have been buried with Christ and raised with Him. Jesus walks on the waves of storms. Jesus fights dragons. Jesus goes down into death itself in order to free us. This means, if we are united to Him, if place our trust in Him, that we are destined for adventure. Remind your daughter of this. Remind her that she doesn’t belong to herself but she belongs to the Great Adventurer, our Savior, Jesus.