My middle son says he couldn't sleep, that he was thinking about something in the middle of the night. "What?" I ask. I was actually praying, he says. About Heaven. I told God that I want to be a Christian.
He says this in the flurry of morning activity, when lunches are being packed and breakfast put on the table. I marvel, parceling out scrambled eggs onto plates and looking at him intently, trying to see inside of him. Where did this come from? The day before we'd talked about Joshua entering the Promised Land and we'd reminded him that he's named after this very man, because we want him to have faith like Joshua. We'd talked about our Promised Land awaiting us and that we enter by faith.
Why don't we sit down and talk about it tonight with Dad, just the three of us?
And so, he leaves for school, and I pray. Lord, give us the words. And give him faith to believe.
Can it really be? This is a moment I've prayed for; this is a moment I've waited for with longing, but it's just another ordinary, nondescript day. Where did this come from? He's asked lots of questions before, and we've explained it all a thousand times, and he's cried tears from not understanding.
And there on that ordinary, nondescript morning, I realized that I've wanted faith for him, but haven't had it myself, not for my own salvation but for his. It is revealing that my first thought was Where did this come from? It shows that I have forgotten that God is quietly at work always and that salvation belongs to Him. My children's hearts are out of my reach but not out of His, and, though I may sleep or give attention to other things, they are never out of His mind.
I have despaired at times about my son, that I couldn't say the exact words that would help him understand faith. I have also despaired about other people, our church, the future, the past, and over my own sin, all because I have forgotten that God is quietly at work always and that salvation and sanctification belong to Him. They don't belong to me, and I cannot manipulate the movement of God.
That afternoon after school, the first thing my son says to me is, "Can we talk now?" There is urgency and excitement in his voice. The Spirit has drawn him.
Oh ye of little faith.
Jesus: "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." (John 5:17)
The gospel is bringing forth fruit all across the world. (Colossians 1:6)
Convicted, I repent. And then I praise God, that He would care for my son and draw him to Himself and even answer the prayers that I prayed in half-belief.
That night, the three of us sit on the couch to talk. With tears in his eyes, my son explains the gospel to us, and then he prays through tears, bringing them to my own when he closes with this: God, thank you for letting me enter the Promised Land.
Yes, Lord, thank you.
Thank you for a son with Joshua as his middle name who taught the older generation about faith. Thank you that, because of Jesus, we'll enter the Promised Land together.