Dear God….

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It’s me.  We met back when I was a teenager in a moment of grace. I felt it and I knew something had changed.  Not that I was healthy then.  No, there was still work to be done.  You had bigger plans, more to do and more preparation.

The years haven’t been easy.  We’ve had ups and downs, miracles and nightmares. We’ve survived hard times and created more hard times.  We’ve started this family, the four of us, and we’re trying to make it and not let things slip away.

This morning, we need something from you. It’s about Carter.

You know him, our oldest.  Our sensitive one, the early riser, the one who never really quite fit in.

The worries started a few years ago. We tried to shrug it off, to chalk it up as “just his personality.”  We hoped he would grow out of it. We assumed it would fade as he grew into years of security and personal identity.

It did not.

Right now, today, he’s in the middle of a relapse of his anxiety and worry, in a hole deeper than he’s faced before. His mind churns like storm water. His heart is heavy. His eyes are longing.  He’s in the middle of changes that seem so big they cannot be overcome.

We need your help.

Friday night, after a few long hours, I was putting him to sleep.  Through tears he yelled and pleaded,

I pray all the time about this stuff that God would take it away and nothing happens.  If he’s really out there, why doesn’t he do anything?

The cries of a child, an innocent soul.  So I ask you, not for me.  I’m almost forty years into this and you know I’ve got enough scars.  I ask you for him.

Where are you?

For this child.  For this boy whose life is still so far ahead of him.  For this child with so many gifts and such potential.  For the moment his heart is so heavy that he cries out to you.

And nothing changes.

Here’s a great opportunity.  We don’t need a Lazarus moment.  We don’t need water into wine or feeding five thousand people.  We don’t even need you to walk on water.

I need you to help my son’s heart, to quiet his mind. To calm his soul and let him know everything will be okay.

I’m typing this through my own tears.  Whatever it takes, please help him. He deserves it, he needs it. He’s done nothing wrong.

I ask for your grace.  I’ve screwed up as a dad more than once. I’ve not given him what he’s needed.  I’ve been emotionally absent more than I should and for that I’m sorry.

All time exists for you in a moment.  You know the plans you have for him and for us.

Please, today, right now, please give him peace. Let him know you are there and things will work out.  Let him know he doesn’t have to be owned by his fear.

Let him know he is stronger than he thinks. Help him to be excited by  life again.

Please.

 

A Faith-Defining Moment

This summer, I posted more than once about the motorcycle accident involving our pastor and his wife. Bryan Koch heads Glad Tidings Church here in Wyomissing.  In June, an intoxicated man driving an SUV crossed the center line of the road and hit Bryan and his wife Lynn.  Lynn lost her life in the accident.  Pastor Bryan lost his left leg and suffered massive injuries.

He almost died more than once in the days directly after the accident.  Yesterday, after nineteen weeks of recovery, he returned to church to preach his first sermon since the tragedy.

The building was packed to the point where they had to stop people at the entrance. Services in other locations, some internationally, were streaming the message that Bryan delivered. He stood on the stage a living miracle of survival and persistence.

Yet this wasn’t the moment I’m talking about.

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At the end of the service, the band played Bryan’s theme song over the past few months, Never Once by Matt Redman. The song started and I watched, as he stood with the help of his walker, and raised his hand in worship.

Here was a man who had lost his wife, spent fifty-one days in the hospital, had almost met death more than once, and he stood on the stage in worship of the God that had never left him alone. There were hard times, he mentioned in the message, times of pain and sorrow. He talked about arriving home from the hospital on the day that would have been his 28th wedding anniversary, seeing a picture on his fridge of him and Lynn, and breaking down.

His voice caught as he talked about her in heaven.

There was something profound in watching him worship. Profound in knowing that God will carry you through your circumstances, that you will stand again even if you are missing some parts.

Your situation matters. Your pain matters. Your suffering matters.  You will make it through.

I watched a miracle happen on Sunday morning. I pray this week you have your own miracles and you realize you are not alone.

~Matt