5:00AM on Monday morning, December 23, 2013. I was spending time with God ‘getting quiet’ in His presence before the busyness of the day unfolded. After which, I started looking at my email and getting caught up on desk work. I saw there was a coupon for a Christian book store for 50% off their children’s Bibles. I printed it out. In my heart I was praying,” Lord, maybe I need to buy my son an ‘older boys’ Bible because he still hasn’t made a decision to follow Jesus? The one I bought a few years ago is for a younger boy. He has been asking some great questions, and appears to be close to making a decision, but perhaps it’ll take longer?”
6:30AM. I felt like God was wanting me to work on my Beth Moore Bible Study, “Jesus the One and Only.” We were looking at the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. I focused particularly on the prodigal son parable found in Luke 15:11-32. Beth’s commentary on the response of the father receiving his wayward son hit me afresh. She writes,
“In one of the most moving moments in all of Scripture, Luke 15:20 records that the father “‘ran to his son.'” Scripture often employs anthropomorphisms–descriptions of God as if He had a human body. We sometimes read that God walked (in the midst of His people0 or that He rode (on the clouds like chariots), but this is the only time in the entire Word of God when He is described as running. What makes God run? A prodigal child turning his face toward home! How can we resist Him? How can we not reciprocate such lavish love?
I was so moved emotionally and spiritually by my study that morning. I wrote in the margin about a sweet time where I ‘felt the Father’s love’ and excitement to see me return home from a season of disobedience. I wrote in the margin, “Lord, I’m to blog about this experience, aren’t I?” I sensed the answer was yes, but I didn’t feel like it was to be done at that very moment. God knew a better time.
7:30AM my girl comes down stairs. We had a sweet time of prayer together. I read to her aloud, the “Power of a Praying Parent” prayer for that day-Releasing My Child into God’s Hands. It was powerful for her to hear God’s heart for her, my heart for her.
8:00AM my son comes down stairs and I felt compelled to do the same for him. I read over him the same prayer and it was beautiful to just speak out loud that I was giving him to God, including my concern for him not having prayed to receive Jesus as the leader and forgiver of his life. We snuggled together on the couch and visited. After a couple hours of reading and playing on the couch, he said, “Mommy, can we go upstairs and snuggle in my bed?” What Mom wouldn’t jump at that opportunity?!
10:00AM, my husband is at work at Gateway Church, my daughter’s playing in her room and I’m snuggling with our boy. After he was still for about ten minutes he says, “Mommy, can I play and you can rest if you want?” Again, I jump at that opportunity! So I can hear him playing with his Lego jet ski and I’m starting to fall asleep. I probably doze for about ten minutes. I start to stir and then he starts talking to me. Somehow our conversation and his questions got really interesting, really fast. He starts saying, “So what happens when we die?” I explained, that I believe that I will immediately go to Heaven because Jesus is the leader and forgiver of my life.” He says, “is Heaven real?” I said, “Yes…it’s a real place.” “So, how do I get to heaven?,” he asks. I say, “do you really want to know?” He says, “Yes, I do.” I quickly realize that I’m out of my league, and I NEED the help of God.
I stop our conversation at that point and explained to him that we need to pray. I said, “You know what? Mommy wants to ask the Holy Spirit to help me have the right words to explain this important information to you. Let’s pray together. Holy Spirit, thank You for being here with Will and I. I pray that You will give me the words to clearly explain these truths. And I pray Holy Spirit, that You will have Your way with his heart. Amen.” We then proceed to have a very simple conversation. Here’s what I recall of it:
“Now, Will, if at any point in our conversation you don’t understand something you stop Mommy. If I use a word you don’t know, stop me. Okay?” “Okay.” “You see Will, we are born with a sin nature…we are born sinners. Do you know what a sinner is?” He replies, “No.” “Do you know what sin is?” He explains, “yes, it’s not doing things like God wants.” “Yes! It’s choosing to go our own way, instead of God’s way. Sin is bad and because of it, God can’t be near sin. God is holy.” “What is holy?” “Holy means God is perfect, pure, and completely without sin. If we choose to continue to do what we want, and if we continue to sin, do you know what happens?” “No.” “If we don’t choose God, then we will be separated from Him forever in a place called, Hell. Have you heard of Hell before?” “Yes.” I explained, “the world may tell you it’s not a real place, but darling it is real. The Bible explains that it is a real place. BUT…God loves us dearly and He doesn’t want us to be separated from Him. He doesn’t want us to go to Hell. He wants to be in relationship with us and He wants to be near us. He wants to be in our lives, so He made a way to make things right. Do you know how He did that?” “No.” “Who’s birthday are we celebrating?” “Jesus!” “Yes, Jesus is the way that God can bring us back into His family. God came near to us in the baby Jesus. Now, what did Jesus do when He was on the earth?” “He died on the cross.” “Yes! Why did He die on the cross?” “He died on the cross for my sins.” [Will knows the answers because we’ve been teaching him these six years about Jesus. He attended Bible Study Fellowship for four years, he was in a Christian preschool at Hope Children’s Center. He’s been attending Hyde Park Elementary School, a Christian school, for two years. He knows the answers, but he’s discovering them for himself personally.] “Yes! You see someone had to ‘pay’ for those sins, those sins needed to be punished and Jesus did that on the cross. He was punished for our sins there. But what happened next?” “He rose again on the third day!” “Yes! You know why that’s important?” “No.” “Because Jesus rose from the dead, He overcame death, and sin’s consequences of Hell. Now we can be with God FOREVER AND EVER in Heaven and death is not our end. And we can now live a new life in Jesus. You know how?” “No.” “Well, once you tell God that you agree with Him, and believe that you’re a sinner, and when you believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for your sins, THEN the person of the Holy Spirit will live in your heart! And you’ll live a new life!” “Mommy, I believe in Jesus, I believe He died for me…I want to be a Christian.” I started to hesitate a bit. I wondered…am I rushing this decision? My flesh starts getting concerned that I’m rushing things so I say,” How about this…let’s wait until tonight so we can talk with Daddy, too?” I figure that way Charles and I could both be in agreement that, in fact, Will is making the long-awaited and prayed for decision to follow Jesus. He quickly replied, “No, Mommy, I want to be a Christian NOW.” I said, “Okay, then…let’s become a Christian right now.” We both got on our knees, on his floor, and I led him through a very simple prayer acknowledging that he was a sinner, he needed Jesus to be his a Savior. He stated that he believed Jesus is the Son of God and that believing in Him would mean he’s now a part of God’s family. He repeated the words after me. We got up off our knees and I hugged him. He said, “Mommy you’re going to cry now, right?” I said, “Yes, but these are tears of joy!”
And just like the woman at the well, in the Bible, who had a special encounter with Jesus, Will, too quickly ran out of his room to go and tell everyone that he was now a Christian!! His very first person was his sister. Ironically, he quickly learned that not everyone is going to be as excited as him. His sister was a little annoyed that he interrupted her (of course). He came back to me with a sad face saying, “She wasn’t very excited, Mommy. She shooed me.” I explained that he didn’t need to get discouraged by her response, and that there will be many more times in his life when people will not respond nicely to the Jesus in him. The Holy Spirit quickly brought back to mind my Bible study from that morning. I said, “You know what, Will? The Bible explains that when a sinner comes ‘home’ and returns back to God that the angels in heaven throw a HUGE PARTY! All the angels are rejoicing and having a party because you are now a Christian! (Luke 15:10)” He quickly said, “Mommy, do you think they would send me a piece of cake from heaven for me to have?” I smiled through my tears, and said “That would be cool if they could, but we’ll definitely celebrate with some cake.” Then he quickly said, “Let’s call Daddy!”
We proceeded to call and leave messages for our immediate family and his children’s pastor and wife. It was so much fun hearing him retell the story!! Now I know why God didn’t want me to blog about the prodigal story that early morning. He had an even more GLORIOUS prodigal story for me to blog about…our boy has come home and we will be together for ETERNITY because Jesus is now the leader and forgiver of his life! Amen! Amen!