Mitt Romney solidified his frontrunner status last night with a narrow victory in his home state of Michigan and a strong win in Arizona. However, Rick Santorum will still win nearly half of Michigan’s delegates, while Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich are preparing for Super Tuesday on March 6.
As they seek an edge in the presidential race, it’s a shame none of the candidates was born today. (I checked–none was even born on a leap year.) He would be one of only 200,000 leap year babies in the United States and 5 million worldwide. However, the odds of being born on February 29 are about 1 in 1,461. It’s no surprise that no president has ever been born on this day. (Our first president came closest. George Washington missed it by a week–he was born on February 22, 1732, a leap year.)
The good news is that you don’t have to be born on Leap Day to be special. As we continue our Lenten series on the “fear nots” of Scripture, we come today to a promise which applies that fact to each of us. Moses has led the children of Israel to the edge of the Promised Land. Now he addresses the nation: “See, the Lord your God has given you the land. Go up and take possession of it as the Lord, the God of your ancestors, told you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 1:21).
Tragically, the people did not heed his call. They pressed Moses to send 12 spies into the land, and you know the rest of the story. Why is this text in God’s word? How is it relevant to our lives and fears today?
Let’s answer that question with this one: Why did Moses want the people to enter Canaan without first exploring the land? Could it be that God’s best tomorrow is one we could never understand today? Warren Buffett noted that in business, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield. It is the same with the life of faith–if you look back at all the ways God has provided for you, and you believe that his character does not change, you’ll be encouraged to trust him for all you need today.
Samuel Rutherford was a 17th century Scottish minister. This week a friend gave me a compendium of Rutherford’s most remarkable insights. Here’s first on the list: “The great Master Gardener, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in a wonderful providence, with his own hand, planted me here, where by his grace, in this part of his vineyard, I grow; and here I will abide till the great Master of the vineyard think it fit to transplant me.”
Your vineyard is his Promised Land for today. So “do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Lent leads to the cross and the resurrection, proof that your Creator loves you. Your birthday, whenever it occurs, shows that the King of the universe thought eternity would not be complete without you.