By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Due to the way the calendar fell this year, the Baptist and Reflector this week is actually dated Dec. 25. As a result, most of our readers will not read this issue until after Christmas.
The staff of the B&R hopes all of you had a very Merry Christmas and that you had a great day celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I also trust that we all took time to count the blessings that God has given each of us.
We often take our blessings for granted, or, sadly, don’t even realize what our blessings are. The Christmas season is now a constant reminder that my family cannot take our blessings for granted.
Seven years ago, the Wilkeys were looking forward to the birth of our first grandchild. Elijah David Beasley was not scheduled to arrive until January of 2013, but on Dec. 17 we received word that our daughter, Joanna, and her husband Matt were on the way to the hospital.
As we traveled, we learned the baby was in fetal distress and Joanna had to have an emergency c-section.
By the time we left Tennessee and drove to South Carolina, the news was not good. Eli had arrived, but he had numerous health issues, including a lot of swelling.
Unlike most premature babies, Eli weighed 12 pounds, but it was mostly fluid. His doctors were not optimistic about his future, or if he would even have one. They had no hope. But we did.
A Christmas miracle began to occur as God’s people began to pray for Eli.
Slowly but surely, Eli started to show improvement. Doctors were guarded. They said that even if he survived, he probably would be severely handicapped with brain damage.
A year later, at his first checkup, those same doctors who said he had no hope could not believe they were seeing the same child. Most of them didn’t understand, but we did. God was in control.
Fast forward to 2019. Eli turned 7 years old last week. While he has a few challenges he has to live with, Eli, for the most part, is healthy.
He currently is in the first grade and knows more math at the age of 7 than his “Pappy” does at the age of 61.
God has continued to bless our family in so many ways since Eli’s birth. He now has a 4-year-old brother, Parker, and in March of 2020, he will have a new cousin courtesy of his Uncle Daniel and Aunt Jill. We are truly blessed.
But, at the same time, we are like every other family in Tennessee. We have our blessings, but we also face our struggles, hard times and challenges.
Despite what the “prosperity” preachers say, life is not a “bed of roses” once you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
John 16:33 is still one of my favorite verses in the Bible, not because it reminds us that in life we will face difficulties, but because of Jesus’ promise: “Fear not, I have overcome the world.” God is, indeed, my refuge and strength in times of trouble (see Psalm 46:1).
I have no doubt there will be challenges to face in 2020. But I also have no doubt that God will continue to bestow His blessings as well.
It’s easy to get caught up in the circumstances of life and fail to see God’s blessings.
My prayer and challenge for each of us is to look for those blessings and to allow God to use us to be a blessing to someone else. Happy New Year!