This morning I held my tongue. I wanted to engage in the argument because I knew I was right. But a quiet nudging urged humility. Let the beast of pride shut down and acknowledge the peace of humility. I didn’t necessarily feel courageous, but I made a decision and with it came peace. Literal peace. Had I engaged, this morning could have exploded. In past times it did.
God still amazes me. Always, I am astounded. Last night a long-held prayer, one shared with many, was answered. I know God answers prayer, but each time, I stand in awe. It’s like the invisible creator of the Universe has come and touched me on the shoulder and whispered, ‘I heard you.” Difficult to express the soul knowledge and chill that is real when prayer is answered. You realize it was answered for you because he heard you and loves you. Awe! Nothing else.
After many years of refusing to go to church, hear about God, accept the love of Jesus into his life, last night my son answered an altar call. But I had to step out of the way. This was God’s work, not mine.
For many years, I pushed and felt the weight of responsibility on me to have my son see God and His love for him. I know my son was, and is, hurting deep inside with emotional pain stemming from adoption, siblings, mental anguish, and bullying. I so desperately love him, and I so desperately wanted him to know that we love him; I tried to force the issue. You can’t force love.
All the while God knew my heart. He knew the love that propelled the decisions. He knew the love that went all over the place seeking answers. But it wasn’t until this past year, when I went to the one source who really had the answers. He is the answer and He knows my son from his innermost being. He is aware of all my son’s feelings, desires, aspirations, future … all of it. He made him. He needed me to step back.
I will say this has been a test for me. A real test. Not forcing him to go to church with us. Not punishing him for speaking filth, but letting him know it is unacceptable in our home. Fights … wanting it my way now, erupted more times than I care to think about. But… God’s faithfulness stood firm. He was there. Solid. Always.
I was gently reminded in my soul a while ago, God has him. God will keep a hold of him. I don’t have to. My job is to love him and guide him towards maturity. I can’t force it. I can structure our life, so he sees us living out truth and engaging in God’s work. I can remind him through my actions–kindness when harshness is called for–that God is real. His love is real. I can ask for prayers to have God touch him in the way only the Holy Spirit can. Then I need to let go and let God.
I know my son and his anger and hurt will not disappear over a simple altar call. However, I also know God has his heart and God is powerful to alter anyone. I’ve seen it. I’ve been it. It is supernatural. His spirit fires up and the things you liked in the past aren’t so wonderful anymore. The thoughts you have start to change. Questions pop up, Christians follow you and pop up everywhere. It’s eerie- yet you are unaware until you look back. God takes control.
The assurance that God quietly whispered to me all those nights ago, that he will hold James and that He’s got him, is true and real. My son is God’s gift to us and He is a gift to God. God’s hands are all over his life. His life won’t be perfect. I know curse words and frustration and anger will still surge and spring out at various times, but God’s promise will ring true always. He will stand with James — his hand reaching out and grabbing hold of his. He won’t run away because of sin. He will draw close and lovingly guide him to acknowledgment and genuine repentance.
Courageous choices are not just the ones for super heroes. They are often the quiet, soft-spoken, unnoticed choices that place God above the circumstance. The choice that trusts God to follow thru – even when it isn’t immediate. Sometimes it is long–years long. But God’s timing isn’t our timing. All things are used and worked according to His plan. On his timetable. Let go and let God – that is the most courageous choice I can ever make.