“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright, he is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” – Proverbs 2:6-7
I knocked on his bedroom door, he answered with a distracted, “come in.” Music played one string at a time as he looked at sheet music working out a detail in the song. He paused and looked up gauging me to see if this was a “Hey, I love you!” or a lecture for some broken house rule. It was then I noticed two scripture addresses across his hand. I’d seen him do that before when his girlfriend had given him scripture to encourage him. I asked what the verses were about and he promptly grabbed a Bible, looked them up and read them aloud. Perplexed by the choices in scripture, I asked if he was ok. He replied he was, but struggling with an issue and wanted the scripture to remain with him. After doing my best to let him share what he wanted to share and not give too much input, I kissed him on the forehead and said a prayer over him.
Six feet tall, curly brown hair, deep blue eyes and a smile just like his dad’s, he’s a cutie and he’s my boy. Guitar and bass strings play off and on from 4:30 through 9:05 pm. He tests the limit on volume most every evening. If the guitar is not in hand, his phone is, or his computer. Sometimes, he manages all three. As a lover of life, there isn’t much he misses; he’s determined to see it all.
We’ve raised him as a worshiper of Christ. However, religion is something he debates, wrestling with the idea of Christian principles conflicting with culture cravings. He tries to fit more than Sunday school pictures of Jesus into daily life. How do you reflect a Savior, who reaches people in need of compassion in a high school setting dripping with goals of the American Dream and competing with the religion of self-importance? The time of protecting him closes quickly; but is he ready to face a world as a believer? Is he ready to say “no” to most “opportunities” that come along because they simply lead away from Christ? When he fails, will he pick himself up, ask God for forgiveness and move forward in life?
It seems crazy to think in another year and a half he will be living on a college campus somewhere. I constantly ask myself, making check list in my head, “Did we teach him “this” and “that?”” He can cook a basic meal (ok, Raman noodles, but he adds his own twist), do his laundry; plus, he has been taught how to clean and balance a check book. The basics are covered. But is he really ready? Does he know we are here if he needs us? Or, how to get down on his face to pray during his darkest hours? Does he know God gives answers in the scriptures and how to apply them?
And then I stop, because he does. He’s already doing it on his own. Even in his current struggle, he is using God’s word. He knows where to go. He knows how to pray and who to praise. He has already demonstrated his knowledge. He’s heard us tell him he is loved hundreds and thousands of times. He has heard that there will be times when he thinks he’s made the right decision and it won’t be. When failure comes, he knows forgiveness is real. He’s experienced it. He knows there are good times ahead, but he also knows there will be challenges. Even when Sunday school answers seem silly, he knows God is real.
Now is the time to build him up and encourage him. It’s the time to watch him make decisions and praise him for the good ones while giving guidance on the not so good ones. Now is the time to trust in the Savior we’ve taught him to worship knowing if he doubts, questions and/or strays, we will be praying. In fact, regardless of if he doubts, questions and/or strays… we will be praying.