God Searches for Us – Part 5: A Mysterious Force
Fifth in a series. Read Part Four.
As much as we liked the church we were visiting, we only went every two or three weeks. Providentially, we skipped services the Sunday morning my stepson called.
I listened as my wife talked. As clueless and insensitive as I can be, I could still tell from her end of the conversation what it was about: he wanted to come back to Colorado.
I dreaded the idea. A week before I had laughed up a storm at Lily Tomlin’s show. Now this? Finally, my wife extended the receiver, saying, “He wants to talk to you.”
After I greeted him, he said, “I want to come back.”
In that moment, it was as if a mysterious force overcame me and seized my jaw. It compelled me to speak the last words I ever dreamed of saying: “It’s okay with me as long as you go back to school.”
A Checkered Past
He and I talked a bit longer, but I have no memory of what we discussed. I just remember hanging up and thinking, “What in the world possessed me to say that? After all the trouble he’s caused? I don’t want him coming back here.”
The die was cast, though. We stalled for a couple weeks to make sure he was serious. We had to buy his return bus ticket, so no sense wasting money.
During this interim, my wife had an idea—talk to a deacon at the church we were visiting. He had had a checkered past, including time as a drug dealer and riding with a motorcycle gang, when he wore his hair down to his waist.
When he shared his testimony, he talked about literally waking up one morning in a pigpen after passing out drunk. Shaking his head, he told himself, “There’s got to be a better way to live.”
After he decided to follow Christ, his past caught up with him. He was arrested for drug sales and possession. A member of the church he attended offered their house as security for his bail bond.
With my stepson’s problems with drugs, my wife figured this deacon would have some ideas about what we could do.
Catching up with him one Sunday after church, my wife described what had gone on and how her son planned to return. She concluded, “What can we do to help him?”
A Mysterious Force
It took about 10 years before I realized what happened that day. Although my wife had asked the question, when this deacon answered he looked directly at me.
“There’s nothing you can do,” he said. “But God can do everything. And the best thing you can do is get right with God.”
Boom! It was like being struck between the eyes by . I knew he had spoken the truth.
For more than 30 years, I had thought I was doing a pretty good job running my life. But faced with the prospect of my stepson coming back and all the gut-wrenching grief I could imagine that bringing, I felt helpless.
Responding to Me
Ironically, had the deacon asked if I wanted to pray and receive Jesus as my Savior, I would have done it right then. Regardless of the crowd of people milling around after church. I was ready to give up.
“We’d like to come over for a visit,” he said.
“When?” I nearly shouted.
The stage was set for what would be the easiest conversion this deacon had ever seen.