The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
client login


As I continue my personal reflections as a dad of three adult children who are marrying, “leaving father and mother” and starting a new family unit, I wish to share a remembrance of my daughter when she was about fourteen months old.

     I’m sure that all of us, at one time or another, have questioned the decision of those individuals responsible for adjudicating some type of contest. Sports fans regularly offer their opinions to umpires and referees particularly when a ruling is forthcoming that is unpopular. Additionally, all of us have disagreed with the decision of those judging the Miss America pageant when our favorite contestant was not selected.               
     Although I don’t usually (never)lose sleep over who wins the Miss America pageant each year, I was a bit befuddled over the judges’ decision related to the “Better Baby Contest” that was held in the community (Bogalusa, LA) where I was serving as pastor way back in 1997. Why, you ask was I befuddled? Well, because my charming, delightful, intelligent, spunky, and beautiful daughter Alyssa was not selected as the winner.
     As a totally unbiased parent, I still have difficulty believing that Alyssa wasn’t chosen. My wife Joyce had to be in New Orleans on the Saturday morning of the contest so I had full responsibility of delivering Alyssa to the contest before the 8:55 AM registration deadline. I prepared breakfast that morning, gave Alyssa her bath (while she was eating her toast), dressed her in a pretty outfit (still eating her toast), and even put a lovely bow in her hair. Then my sons and I “flew” to the neighboring town (Franklinton) for the big contest.               
     Alyssa greeted everyone while we waited our turn. She walked up and down the aisle of the high school auditorium smiling at parents and contestants alike. When Alyssa passed, I observed some parents pulling hair bows and ribbons out of diaper bags for their own daughters. I was sure then (and I am still confident today) that if those many parents had been given the privilege of selecting the winner, without exception every one of them would have voted for my little girl. I really felt like Alyssa would be selected as a finalist. Some of our church friends apparently felt likewise for they waited with great anticipation for the presentation of the winners fully expecting to hear the announcer introduce “Alyssa Kaye Hall.”
     I suppose that I could get all bent-out-of-shape and blame everything on the judges, but in reality, they had a pretty difficult job selecting from such a large group of sweet little girls. I guess I won’t go so far as to say that they made a mistake but I will say that they missed a great opportunity to choose my precious child.               
     As I reflect on the judges’ decision at the “Better Baby Contest,” I recall that several passages in the Bible describe God as “the righteous judge” and refers to Jesus as “faithful and true” who “judges justly.” In other words, God doesn’t make mistakes! Jesus stated that He would judge between the righteous and the unrighteous based on the relationship that people have (or don’t have) with Him. No matter how charming, delightful, spunky, intelligent, or beautiful a person may be while on earth, if they have not trusted Jesus as their personal Savior then their name will not be announced on the stage of eternity. Friends and family do not get to vote for the eternal dwelling place of another individual. God is the only judge and His decision is final!               
     Pray for friends and members of your family who have not yet trusted Jesus and given their life to Him. Encourage them to participate in worship this Sunday. They will receive a blessing and so will you!