It Ain't Easy Bein' Me

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them


My son, Nathan, was born July 17, 1990. He’s an awesome young man. I’ve never known anyone his age so spiritually in tune. And he has such a huge, loving heart. He genuinely cares for his friends and acquaintances with a true compassion that can come only from our Father. Unfortunately, some people don’t understand that compassion at times and take his concerns the wrong way. But that’s OK, either they’ll figure it out or they won’t. The main thing is, he’s really concerned about doing God’s will. And that makes me very happy.

Nate prayed for salvation at the tender age of five. I was in the den watching TV one night and his mom told him to go get ready for his bath. He left the den, then poked his little head back around the corner and said, “I want to be steamin’ for Jesus!” I’m sure I chuckled, and I remember thinking he must mean, “On fire for God.” It was really sweet. He went on and started getting ready and his mom went and prepared to bathe him. A few minutes later she came in the den, “You need to go talk to Nathan.”

“Why?”

“He wants to ask Jesus in his heart.”

Whew, that’s big. My eyes water now as I relate the story to you. “OK,” I said, “I’m on my way.”

So I go in and ask him about it and he confirms that’s what he wants to do. Now, I’ve taken classes on how to help lead people to Christ, so I knew what to say to him, but this is my boy’s eternal life we’re talking about, and he’s awful young, so I wanted to make darn sure of two things. One, that he definitely knew was he was doing, and two, I wanted to get an objective viewpoint, as I was very emotional over this.

“OK, Nathan. That’s great. How about we go talk to our pastor (no better pastor in the world, I’m convinced) tomorrow?”

“No, Daddy. I want to do it now.”

“OK, son. That’s just fine. Let’s get you out of the tub and get dried off and dressed and we’ll pray.”

“No, Daddy! I want to do it right now!”

Again, I have to tell you, tears of joy over God’s goodness steam down my face as I type this. So we prayed, right there, soaking wet and naked in the tub. Now, isn’t that just how we need to surrender to God? Naked, wet, no pretenses, offering Him nothing, because we have nothing to offer at that point. We just need salvation. And we need it bad. The song, “JUST AS I AM”, by Charlotte Elliott comes to mind, eh? My Lord still uses that to remind me I have nothing to offer Him. My life is nothing. I was born into sin, I chose to sin, and I am like an open grave of rotting flesh to Him apart from Christ.

Now, I should have known from that experience alone, just his frame of mind and since of urgency, that it was all legit. But you know the Doubting Thomas in me kept rearing his ugly head. And God had to reassure me more than once.

I guess the first thing was through a cable box and a TV. I’m pretty sure it was the next morning when I came into the den and turned on the TV and got the first sign from my Lord that it was cool. It was an odd thing the way it happened. The cable box we had at the time would always turn onto the same channel if you turned it on with the remote. Channel 2, I think, but I wouldn’t swear to it. Well, the overwhelming majority of the time, that’s what I did: Pick up the remote and turn it on. But this particular morning, I turned on the box with the on/off button atop the box itself, so when it came on, it came on the channel I was watching when I turned it off. Another strange thing about it is the channel I was watching is one I would have rarely watched right before I went to bed. I had been watching a Chicago Bulls game, I think, on WGN the night before. Now, I very rarely watch the NBA unless it’s the championship finals. But God used this peculiar chain of events to comfort me.

After I turned on the box, I headed to my recliner where my remote control was to find something worth watching. Before I got settled in good, though, I was hit with God’s unique way of communicating to us. There happened to be a broadcast of some church service on. I cannot tell you the pastor’s name. I don’t think I had ever seen him before, and I can probably count the number of times on one hand that I’ve seen him since. I think I can tell you what he looked like, but I cannot tell you his name for anything. Anyway, before I could get the channel changed, I heard this man give the name of his sermon…ON FIRE FOR GOD. That’s kinda similar to “Steamin’ for Jesus”, ain’t it?

Another really cool thing God used was a book by Dr. James Dobson, and I’m pretty sure it was PARENTING ISN’T FOR COWARDS. Well, I’m quite sure it was. A friend and brother in the Lord we used to worship with gave us that book when Nathan was born. In this book, Dr. Dobson mentioned that he came to the Lord in his preschool years. That was comforting to me. Now, the odd thing about this was, like I said, the book was given when Nathan was born, over five years earlier. I never got around to taking it off the bookshelf, though, until about the time Nate was saved. So, I’m convinced the Spirit led my friend to give us that book, knowing full well I’d need that reassurance (as well as all the excellent advice and encouragement Dr. Dobson offers) five years down the road. God’s timing, folks, isn’t our timing. Time is a tool devised or man. God is just as much in the past and future as He is the present. He’s not bound or restrained by anything, other than His own holiness. He can’t lie. He cannot sin. He cannot be unholy. Apart from that, He has no limitations, including that of time. He goes before me and comes after me. He went before me when my friend gave me that book. He comes after me and cleans up my messes a lot, too. And I can assure you, He’s always with me. Before me, after me, and with me. And you think that insurance company “has you covered”? Well, you can’t beat God’s coverage with a stick.

But I guess the thing God used that meant the most to me was an incident in his kindergarten class. The thing that kept bothering me most about his conversion was the fact that he didn’t seem to want to share it. He didn’t mind talking about it with us, and he didn’t mind talking about it with our pastor, but he was very reluctant to share with anyone else. That was so unlike me when I was saved. I couldn’t wait to get to school to tell my friends who I went to church with. Looking back, it’s a no brainer. I was 14. I was under pretty heavy conviction. I was running from God as fast as I could. Nathan was a super good kid with a super sweet personality in kindergarten. How much conviction could he be under, for crying out loud? But, as I said earlier, this was my son, and we were dealing with his eternal security. I wanted to make sure we were straight. So I was concerned that he didn’t want to witness. Then his mom told me about something that happened at school one day. I’ll tell the story as I know it, not having been there, but knowing what I know about what did happen and the personalities involved. If this isn’t accurate, it has to be pretty close.

Nathan was in kindergarten. His teacher was super sweet lady with whom his mom had worked at another school, who also happened to teach Sunday School at another Baptist church here in town. She was preparing for her day one morning. Nathan approached her. He was a pretty persistent little guy, very sweet, never disrespectful, just innocent and unassuming. “Mrs. Smith,” Nathan said to get her attention.

“Just a minute, buddy. Let me finish this.”

“Mrs. Smith,” Nathan persisted.

“Hold on one minute, Nathan.”

“But Mrs. Smith, I have to tell everyone something.”

“OK, Nathan. What is it? What have you got to tell us that can’t wait?”

“I’m getting baptized!”

“Oh,” replied Mrs. Smith. I can feel the sheepishness she must have felt, as he did that kind of stuff to me all the time. “OK. Class, listen up. Nathan has something he’d like to share with us. Go ahead, Nathan. Tell everyone what you have to say.”

So he proceeded to advise the class of his upcoming baptism. This prompted questions from the class so he told them what he knew of salvation and following in obedience with baptism.

Mrs. Smith then went to the principal’s office. “Dr. Jones,” Mrs. Smith said to catch her attention.

“Yes?”

“I just thought you might want to know that Nathan’s led us in revival and half the class wants to get baptized.”

Yes, ain’t God good, indeed. I’m hard headed sometimes. One of my occupational therapist, Gina, once told me, “You don’t take a hint unless someone beats you upside the head with it.” Well, He kept on beating me upside the head with it ‘til I got it. He’s like that, you know. He’ll stick with us ‘til we “get it”, because He is good. Way gooder than I deserve, I can tell you that much.

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