It’s hard to trust the understanding of an 8-year old in regards to the meaning of accepting the Lord. However, my sister sat me down at our backyard picnic table when I was 5 years old, and I remember that moment to this day. I do not remember if it was her that prayed or if it was me. I do know that I was sincere.
(Truly, he never was. I’m just his earthly steward.)
The image of my son praying in the back of my car will always remain. At least, that's my hope. I hope to never forget that moment he prayed and asked the Lord Jesus to take up residence in his heart. Yes, I am a man whose memory is not terribly reliable - I took a photo, just to be safe… Even so, as the Lord takes root in his heart, it will be obvious every day. I will not have to remember that particular moment should my mind – or hard drive – fail, because the fruit will always be evidence of the truth.
Strangely, when I was asked to write about this experience I was not sure what to write about. I think it's obvious that I'm extremely happy about it, “ecstatic” would be an appropriate word. To be honest, another appropriate word would be “uncertain”. It’s hard to trust the understanding of an 8-year old in regards to the meaning of accepting the Lord. However, my sister sat me down at our backyard picnic table when I was 5 years old, and I remember that moment to this day. I do not remember if it was her that prayed or if it was me. I do know that I was sincere. I do know that I have never walked away from the Lord. Even though that gives me some confidence, it does not completely close the gap.
One thing that I do know with absolute certainty is that my job does not change in the slightest. I still must emulate Jesus in every way possible: love, wisdom, service, humility, submission, patience and all those other fruits of the spirit that we must pursue. It's one of those jobs that does not strike me as easy when I look into my son's future. Yet I know that the grace given to me is enough to cover my son in every way that he will need as he enters that narrow gate.
So, why is it that I still doubt? Other than the fact of my broken human condition I guess the obvious answer is that I don't know if it is for real. I question whether or not my son will stay true to that road. I question whether Jesus has chosen him to be one of His elect. See, for parents who have thrown themselves on the grace of the cross there truly is no greater fear than that of being on the other side of the Great Divide once Judgment Day has come. And yet, as I write this I am reminded that it doesn't matter if I know if it's for real or not because it is not my job to know. It is my job to pray, serve, love and trust that my Father knows better than I do.
Because, and let's be honest, this is how we are directed to treat every human being around us. It doesn't matter if they are blood relation, close acquaintance, significant other, beloved spouse or distant colleague; we simply align ourselves with the will of the Father and keep praying that the Holy Spirit will do his work and that we will limit how often we try to do it for Him. But, unavoidably, we remain humans ourselves, thus our children will always hold a special place in our hearts. Therefore, there is a special kind of fear around the shoulders of a parent that rarely extends itself to others outside of our immediate families. So even this fear must be placed upon the Lord shoulders because it is not one that we can control. It is a thing we must surrender.
A good friend of mine calls 2014 the "Year of Surrender". He and I have found ourselves in parallel walks. We both find ourselves releasing our illusions of control over our lives and those around us. There's a freedom to be found in this kind of submission: the freedom of knowing that there is One far greater than us with much better insight and power then we could ever dream to hold. So I conclude that this fear of my son's spiritual state is yet another that I must release.
So, do me a favor please: pray for my son and also pray for me. I will pray for you. In fact, I just did.
Author: Jonathan Allain