I was in a 3-week span of much discouragement and despair. My heart was riddled with doubt and fear and my disposition dripped of frustration. It seemed like one thing after another had gone wrong. A decision I had made at church was getting some backlash, our heater died and it took the warranty company 4 weeks to replace it only to find out the next day that our air conditioner wasn't blowing cool air. In the midst of all of this, we are walking through a new diagnosis for our son that is emotionally, physically, and financially taxing on our family. As all of these things piled on top of each other I found myself tired and with the desire to quit everything. I felt like I just wanted to sit and cry.
This was my state when I took my son to Chick-Fil-A. Now perhaps you are thinking, “Yes! That’s what I do too when I’m discouraged, I go to Chick-Fil-A!” Believe me, there are many lower-level discouragements that Chick-Fil-A can meet. But this was a higher-level discouragement for me. This was not going to be solved by a chicken, bun, and a pickle, no matter how much Chick-Fil-A sauce I put on it.
Asa and I ate our chicken and dipped our fries in ketchup, then we went into the play area. It was a zoo for children. They were like monkeys; they jumped and squealed, swung and beat their chests, and threw their… shoes.
Then into this chaos came a cry. It was not my son’s cry, but it was a cry and it was followed by more crying. You could tell that this cry was not a hurt cry, but a scared cry. Asa heard it too. Asa played on the floor when he heard it. I saw his head spin around and he began to look. His hand went into the air as if to say, “What’s happening? Where’s it coming from?” and he said, “Baby? Baby?” That’s when Theology 101 began. My son got up from the floor and headed up to the playground. When he found the little boy who was crying, Asa gently reached out and patted him on the shoulder several times to console him. Then he preceded to put his arm around his shoulders, give him a hug, and continue to pat him and he did this until the boy's father appeared. When the dad showed up Asa used his sign-language to tell the father that the thinks the little boy is tired. Then he stopped patting him and ran and played as if nothing had happened.
I sat on that bench and looked up to my son with tears in my eyes. Emotions flooded my heart. I was so proud of him. He had just shown this little boy so much love and care. As all the other children ran around him and looked at him like he was an inconvenience, my son stopped what he was doing and cared for the scared. There is nothing my son could have done to make me more proud of him. When he came down and sat by me I bragged on him and high-fived him and celebrated with him and I told him that he was like Jesus, cared for the scared, alone, and hopeless. He cared for the one who was lost and that is what Jesus does.
That’s when the second round of emotions flooded my heart because, in that moment, my son had not only been Jesus to a little boy, my son had been Jesus to me. My son showed me what my Savior does. My Savior sees my discouragement, he sees my fear and he sees my doubt. He doesn’t leave me there to wallow and drown in it. Rather, he searches me out, he embraces me as his own, he gives his Spirit to comfort me and care for me, and then he presents me to the Father and says, “Let all who are weary and heavy laden come to me and I will give them rest.” As I sat there in the Chick-Fil-A playground I was taught one of the most freeing theological lessons of my life: “Jesus sought me and Jesus loved me and Jesus will present me to the Father where every tear will be wiped away and there will be no more sorrow and no more pain.”
So today I would like to challenge you in two ways;
First, rest in the caring embrace of our Jesus, whatever your discouragement or fear. Rest in his embrace and find comfort, and know that he will present you to the Father.
Second, sign up for a theology class with your children. You may be astounded at what you will learn about our God and faith through your children.