03/17/12 Weekend Grif.Net – Two Birthdays in One Week

03/17/12 Weekend Grif.Net – Two Birthdays in One Week

[For new subscribers to the Grif.Net: on Monday-Friday we send out a
slightly warped blend of humor. On the weekend we send out material that is
more serious of a moral, ethical, religious or political nature. This week I
had TWO BIRTHDAYS, and every year I share this story on the Grif.Net that
includes a little bit of my personal life (and my heart) with all the
faithful readers, even if you’ve heard it before! Will return to humor
Monday, Lord willing.]

March 14, 1948 was a momentous day for Bud and Helen Griffin of Minneapolis.
Bud had come home from WWII in the Philippines and now they were expecting a
baby. A strapping little baby boy, Robert Edward Griffin, Jr, was born at
the Swedish Hospital that morning, at just over 7 pounds. While the family
was dirt poor, they had each other, lots of kin folk, and even more love
than any family deserves.

I did not walk until 24 months. I did not talk until 26 months. They
actually took me to a specialist (a Jewish doctor) to find out if I was
retarded. Don’t get ahead of me. He said “No” and indicated that once I
started to talk, they would never be able to shut me up. Prophetic!

I almost died that 2nd summer. TB was rampant and I could not breathe. So it
was recommended to put me in a tuberculosis sanatorium (note the spelling)
and hope I would survive. Once there, I was tested and found to “only” have
bronchial asthma and sent home.

Polio hit our block in 1956. It killed a couple of my classmates and
crippled Jerry a few doors up the alley from us. The tragedy and reality of
death brought a new sincerity to our prayers and search for God. From there
it was growing up during the Korean War, H-bomb drills in school (like
hiding under a desk would help a nuclear attack) and drifting from religion
to religion – tried Jewish like most neighbors, then Catholic, then Baptist.

March 17, 1957, was the second most momentous day. My mother had been
sending my sister and me a few blocks away to a Baptist church in the inner
city of Minneapolis. There God began to do a work in my heart. Now, I
wasn’t a BAD kid – hey, I was only in 4th grade for goodness sake! But I
knew I was a sinner worthy of God’s judgment. And with the very real threat
that my world could end any day through sickness or war, I was not ready!

Guess I should thank God for ordaining my salvation from before the
foundation of the world, because I’m living fulfillment of the verse in Acts
13:48 ” . . as many as were ordained to eternal life, believed.” Wow. All
of a sudden my feeble faith (that was the regenerative work of the Holy
Spirit) on that March 17th cried out in repentance to God to save me from
hell and wash away my sin. It was ALL God’s grace. Kinda like a baby
celebrating his birthday – the baby had not really ANYTHING to do with it!
Conceived and delivered by miracle – all the baby does is get squeegeed out
and start crying!

But that day changed the course of the rest of my life. Oh, life went on
with school, college, grad work, marriage, ordination and three wonderful
kids of my own, 10 grandkids, pastoring, and serving as a college dean and
professor. But I was “born again” – not out of some emotional hype of
high-pressure salesmanship or from a knee-jerk reaction to a movie, but an
inner moving of God that has never left me and continues to give fulfillment
and purpose to my life.

So, born physically March 14th, born again March 17th. And now, facing
heaven. All of us “boomers” are facing our own mortality. When in 2003 the
doctors said “You have six months to live. Maybe 1 or 2 painful years at the
most”, it hung heavily around my neck. Nobody is sure of ANY day, but we
all plan like there will be endless tomorrows.

But you know, I didn’t have a thing to do with my day of birth. I didn’t
have a thing to do with being the recipient of God’s grace on my second
“birthday”. And I won’t have a thing to do with the day that HE has
appointed for me to go to heaven – whether at 64 or 104. I don’t believe
doctors and I sure don’t trust them (don’t tell my wife, the doctor). I
believe God has a plan. I wasn’t born by accident and wasn’t born again by
accident either. GOD is the blessed controller of all things. And until
that plan is complete, and not a minute sooner, I plan to live every day to
the fullest!

So today is St. Bob’s Day – March 17th. I am rejoicing that God has given me
another year to live, celebrated with cake and candles (and fire
extinguisher, just in case) and now the anniversary of my “becoming a
saint”. So I share the day with Patrick, but I’m not wearin’ the green.
Since my second birth, I’ve been wearing robes of righteousness! And
waiting to see my Lord at His divinely appointed time.

Thanks for listening. And trust YOU can celebrate TWO birthdays in 2012 as
well. If you have questions, I consider myself a cyber-friend and happy to
dialog with you.

Dr Bob Griffin
“Jesus Knows Me, This I Love!”