Why, if I have been praying for this moment for more than ten years, am I questioning the reality and certainty that God has begun a good work in my son...that He is faithful to see it to completion? Disbelief, fear and anxiety remain ever present, in spite of the tremendous blessings we have experienced.
This is my prodigal's name tag. After spending two days at Disney University, this name tag brings joy to his face. When asked how his first day on the new job went, his enthusiasm was contagious. He propped his name tag up against a photo of his sister and him and proudly announced, "Mom, after so many years of visiting Disney World as a little boy, I remember seeing so many people with a Disney name tag on. Now, I have one! My name is on it!"
He has always wanted to belong. Perhaps this is why so many teenagers become lost; no where to fit in, no one to accept them with all of their quirks and growing pains. If your child is an athlete, they belong to a team. If your child is academic, they are part of a prestigious group. If your child is an artist or musician, they belong to a cluster of creative souls. If your child lacks these skill-sets, they become part of a culture of loners. Perhaps this is why gangs are on the increase, why drug usage is so prevalent; when a soul becomes lonely, it settles where it is least judged.
After years of searching, my son has now joined all-things Disney! He is part of the Disney Team; there are Disney standards, there is Disney talk. There is a Disney attitude and Disney traditions. Curt is thrilled that he was hand picked to be part of this team. And is his self-esteem soaring! From the depths of his journey he has risen to a permanent state of charmed living! His Disney ID gets him into any of the Disney secured boundaries. Strangers that he meets in the marketplace, upon seeing his Disney ID card, congratulate him for working with such an outstanding team. He belongs to something that others respect. This is new for my prodigal.
My prodigal...why am I having such trouble believing my lost son is returning home? I can feel the anxiety rising--everything is going so well NOW (thank you God)--but what if he stumbles? How does a stumble define his journey? Following years of crisis after crisis, what am I to think of this calm? Is this the calm before yet another storm? Why am I so reluctant just to rest in God's promise of restoration? After all, isn't Dr. Phil known to say, "the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior?"
I feel tremendous guilt as I ponder these fears. I believe God has begun a good work in my son, I believe that God is answering our prayers, I believe, I believe, I believe! Or do I? My mind struggled with this guilt, with my fears and the escalating anxiety as I flew home from Orlando last night. While looking out of the window into the late evening sky; stars overhead, rolling thunderclouds billowing below, I began to meditate on a passage I had memorized so long ago: Psalm 23 quieted my spirit and I immediately began to feel at rest as I prayed this Psalm of David:
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not [question!!!]
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides [my son] in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though [we] walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow [Curt] all the days of [his] life and [he] will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."
It was as if the Spirit had directed the rephrasing of these words: God was speaking once again. He is my Shepherd, I must follow His lead. He is with me, He is with my son. I will believe, furthermore, I will trust! Like the father in the parable of the lost son--I will continue to look (to expect!) as my once lost son returns home! I will not doubt, I will not question, I will continue to plan the banquet of celebration worthy of his return. There is no room in my heart for doubt, it is filled with compassion for my son's homecoming and to God for His faithfulness. Luke 15: 20 will be my example: "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him." This account does not say the father doubted his son's return, feared further problems or questioned the permanence of this homecoming. No--the father planned a party! "'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate." (vv. 22-24).
Thank you for joining in on the feast of this long-overdue celebration! Please hold me accountable should I need some redirecting! Are there areas of your life that we can celebrate together? Remember the words of the father, "but we had to celebrate and be glad, because what was dead is alive again; what was lost is now found" (paraphrase verse 32).
Let's use blog-land to celebrate all that God promises to restore; He has prepared the table for us, we are anointed, and our cups overflow. The feast of goodness and love is prepared, let's dwell in it! Let's celebrate!