The Greatest Birthday Gift

It was the occasion of my 50th Birthday. I was with my family high in the Rockies at the glorious Wind River Ranch family camp where I was the speaker for the week. We loved this spot. What better place to spend this significant day. I woke on my birthday to wonderful gifts from my family that included fly fishing waders and trout flies. They knew my love language… TROUT.

I taught on an outdoor deck at the ranch that morning with Longs Peak framed right behind me. On this particular day there were about 25 adults in attendance. Following the session I told the group that I was going to take a walk to the upper meadow. I let them know that if any of them wanted to talk or pray they could find me there.

I had been up there for about 15 minutes praying and thinking. I thanked Jesus for shielding me with His perspective on a day that seemed to take so many men out. I knew that it was only by His strength and grace that I would celebrate this day without an identity crisis.

A lone figure came walking up the trail. He was a man from Wisconsin in his early 30’s. He asked if we could talk. Within minutes he said that he was ready to cross the line with Jesus. It was a poignant moment as I witnessed my new friend literally cross over from death to life on my birthday.

Later that day I was preparing for the evening message. An afternoon rain shower had just passed as I went for a stroll down the hill. Turning and looking up the mountain, the most glorious rainbow appeared. I felt as though I could reach out and touch it. The base of the rainbow fell on the spot in the upper meadow where I had witnessed the grace of God reach down and touch a man earlier in the day.

I could feel the celebration of the angels in heaven who had been waiting since his birth for this moment. A revelation came: our physical birthday is but the day that anticipation begins among the angels in heaven; will he or won’t he choose. The great endless celebration breaks out the moment we cross the line with Jesus, our true birthday.

Jesus had given me the greatest birthday gift imaginable, watching a man cross from death to life on my 50th birthday. Trout fishing waders: $75, trout flies: $15, death to life: priceless… I was unable to look away from the rainbow… I now knew the meaning of the pot of gold… I stood in awe.