that phrase gets repeated so much at birthdays in our village that it basically loses its meaning. it simply means "we thank God for one more year of life." at birthday parties where several people stand up to speak, the phrase literally gets repeated by every single person.
it just comes across as meaningless to me when you hear it over and over again.
with one exception: when it's cesar's birthday!
for cesar, "one more year of life" is truly something to celebrate. "one more year of life" is nothing short of miraculous.
this man continues to defy the odds and astonish doctors. by the world's standards (even top medical experts), the last 10+ years are a pure mystery. how can this man continue living - year after year - if his spine has fused completely together and all of his bodily systems have shut down?
only God gives and takes life. even though every one of cesar's breaths is a medical miracle, God is keeping cesar alive for his purposes. cesar shines God's glory like no one i've ever met before.
if christians are like tools in God's toolbox, cesar must be the old faithful tool that works every time.
if we're plays in God's playbook, cesar must be his go-to play at clutch time.
the man is truly amazing.
last month we were visiting cesar with some friends who were visiting from jacksonville. one of the visitors mentioned to cesar that he had been reading colossians, and asked cesar what his favorite passage in colossians was. cesar replied "probably chapter 2"... and proceeded to recite the entire chapter with fire and passion!
last week at his birthday party, the boys who were with us were telling cesar that we are studying psalm 91 together. cesar shared with them how much psalm 91 has meant to him over the years, and with great emotion recited the entire psalm!
i can't even tell you how many times this has happened over the years...
cesar garcia is truly a man after God's heart. more in tune with the holy spirit than anyone i have ever met or ever even heard of.
prays differently than anyone i've ever known.
sings more beautifully and honestly than anyone i've ever known.
loves more deeply than anyone i've ever known.
and despite being paralyzed from the neck down for the last 12 years, he is more alive than anyone i've ever known.
in cesar's case, "gracias a Dios por un año mas de vida" is certainly no routine birthday phrase. for cesar, and everyone who knows him, "one more year of life" is truly a blessing beyond measure.