Timing is Everything – Sometimes!

lost son flannelgraph2.15.2013 @ 4:35 pm

O.K., one more brief visit to our little house in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. Since Karen and I did not have a team to work with, a local church to attend, even babysitters to hire for a brief respite from the sweet 5 and 3 year-olds we were with constantly (and they with us!) – we did our best to work out Deuteronomy 6:7 (and you shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them (the Lord and His commands) when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way….) in our daily  little life routines.  Karen has always been great to read to our children, especially Bible stories, then reinforce them with a curious little teaching tool called a “flannel board” – low tech but very interactive!

One day our 5 year old son was asking questions about Jesus, enough so that my “Aha, this might be at teachable moment” instincts kicked in!  So I did what any well-trained Campus Crusade staffer would do – I found a copy of the Greatest Treasure story/comic book, a children’s rendition of the four spiritual laws – and we sat out on our front porch and read it together.

I asked our son if he wanted to pray the prayer and ask Jesus to forgive his sins and be his Savior?  “Can I do this in a week, Dad?”  I’m thinking, “Why a week – is the evil one trying to steal this moment?”…..Best response I could come up with – “Sure, honey, let’s meet here next week and talk again.”  “O.K. Dad, can we go ride my bike now?”

Understanding his wonderful little first-born personality better much later in my parenting journey, our son has always had his own way of doing what he wants to do.  Given a little time, he usually comes up with the “right” thing to do.  Pressed too hard, you could almost see his little boy heals digging in to resist what he had not yet concluded was the right thing to do. (I understood all this many years into the parenting journey – the hard way!)

One week later, back on the front porch. Simple prayer of faith, no big deal, a little conversation about “Where is Jesus now, son?”  “In my heart, Dad, just like he promised?”  “Yes, that is what 1 John 5:13-15 tells us”  (and this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.)

A curious thing – our son doesn’t remember vividly what I just described.  Vague recollection, mostly just remembers that I did not press him the first time – and that this occurred in a foreign land – Jesus can meet us wherever we are!  Another curiosity – even though this was a very trying time for us as a family, our two older children are now living in foreign countries and serving the Lord in sweet and effective ways.  So maybe, just maybe, something was “caught” in those days on the front porch and with the flannel board.

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Larry Shoemaker – Pastor of Marriage & Family
(909) 335-7333, x 135 |  lshoemaker@trinityonline.org

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