I am sitting in the middle of JOY folks, absolute joy. After spending a few days with my son in Orlando, I have begun to feel a strange, vaguely familiar feeling. After spending the afternoon in reflection; I now remember the once known feeling--it is joy! He is doing well; he is settled, he is smiling. After years of sadness and disappointments, we are laughing together and feeling hope for his future. As I left him at his apartment last night and returned to my hotel room, I thanked God for this gift and fell into a deep, satisfying slumber. My child is happy; with each positive step into his future, my prodigal is....on his way home.
I have not always slept with such assurance. It was just a few years ago that I wrote the journal entry below. This was during a time that his life was spiraling out-of-control...at turbo speed. Many advised "tough love," and my husband and I tried, yet at every turn we could not find peace. Our son was living away from home, unemployed, and developing dangerous behaviors. His present and his future looked simply bleak. My husband and I have often said that we believe "tough love" is called "tough" because of how difficult it is, not for the child, but for the parents! Still, we were determined to stand in the gap for our son. This is tiring, exhaustive, and emotionally draining. However, God looks for those who will persevere; Ezekiel 22:30 says, "I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none." And never is there a tougher time to stand strong than during a middle-of-the-night phone cry for help.
It was another middle-of-the-night phone call—it can only be trouble God. I didn’t handle it very well; matter-of-fact—I blew it again Lord. I am weak, I fail. My heart longs for him to be safe at home, sweetly slumbering while I tip-toe into his bedroom to check his covers, listen to him breathe, lightly touch his forehead and kiss his cheek good-night. Instead, his bedroom is empty, the night is dark and the sound of his voice on the phone is fading through my tears.
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings like eagles
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
(NKJV) Isaiah 40:31
Israel, no doubt, cried many tears during its captivity. Through it however, they learned to “wait” on the Lord—to expect His promise of strength. God would deliver Israel and restore the nation; and His people would learn to trust God for their strength and restoration. All of God’s children must “wait” in faith, draw strength from His strength and rest in His promise of final redemption. In return, “we will run and not be weary, walk and not faint, and soar on wings like eagles.
Response Prayer: Thank you God for your never diminishing power and strength. Thank you that at the bottom of my failed attempts, I find your strength. It is in my weakness that I find you and it is in your promises of hope, strength and soaring victory that my strength is renewed. In the midst of this lonely night God, give my son a generous portion of your strength and protection....and a kiss for sweet dreams.
Is my son done with his wandering, are we completely through the desert, have we arrived at the Promised Land? I wonder how many times Israel asked that question? What I am certain of is that God is faithful and will continue to hold my son in His hands. This not only renews my strength....it fortifies my joy! For it is within the wait that I have learned that I can trust Him, He will deliver final and full restoration! How could my heart not soar with complete joy?