When Old Testament Israel came back from Babylonian exile, a grateful Ezra sacrificed 77 lambs on the altar of God in Jerusalem, perhaps indicative of how many years since the last lamb was sacrificed there. Five hundred years later, Christ sacrificed Himself for me on a cross near there, so I can, with eternal gratitude, spare the lambs on this, my 77th birthday.

The number 7 appears 483 times in my Bible, in roughly three contexts—a.) Completion and Perfection, b.) Exoneration and Healing, c.) Fulfillment of Promises and Oaths. Our Sovereign God has given me eyes to see those aspects played out in my life. My longevity defies my genetics but not His grace, and catastrophes, even those I courted, were averted by His grace alone. I have seen much of God’s magnificent creation: 1) Whether enveloped by AAA tracer fire on a dark night over the Ho Chi Minh Trail or blowing rooster tails in the North Sea surf of Scotland; 2) whether dining in opulence atop the World Trade Tower in NYC or feasting on sparrow soup and cheap wine in a Spanish hamlet in the Pyrenees; 3) whether in a plush rosewood paneled boardroom in the Chicago Loop or a bare subsistence hovel in the destitute Haitian hills; 4) whether walking the marble halls of The Bank of England behind a big hobnailed Beefeater or padding down a jungle trail in Luzon behind a diminutive loin-clothed Negrito; 5) whether lecturing to students at Harvard Business School or being lectured to by a one-room country schoolmarm; 6) whether standing atop Pikes Peak or hiking down into the Grand Canyon; 7) whether marveling at a sunrise on the beach of the Florida Keys or mesmerized by a sunset on the Pacific shore of Oregon, and all points in between, I have seen the face of God.

And though I am full of years amid the trauma of 2020, my health has been so good of late I’m wondering if God has turned back my biological clock. My cup runneth over at 77. But Lord, if you could grant me just one more undeserved birthday gift, I most fervently pray it would be revival and domestic tranquility for my country, and if you could initiate it tomorrow that would be awesome. Nevertheless not my will, but thine be done. In Christ, my Savior’s name I pray. Amen.  

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