I have 5 kids. All boys. Growing up, I did not want any. I was that one that loved kids. I would rush to them, say hello and try to pick them up. When I heard a child crying, it was all that I could do to help them stop. I loved them. Especially because I could give them back to their parents. I was safe and able to retreat to my cave. Back to my own life. That is not the case any more. These boys live in my cave. They are a part of my life and not going anywhere far for at least the next 10 years or more. I can’t give them to anyone for very long. I mean, I could, but they would miss me terribly and want to come back. I can’t and won’t neglect them. I want to help them determine who they are in God and help them become who they are to become in Him. Even with this, I never dreamed of being, nor wanted to be a parent. I never envisioned having a younger me to groom and raise to be my replacement. I wanted to be footloose and fancy free. I’ve always wanted to move about the country and beyond. As I became older, I even refused to date women that had children. I married the lady that the Lord ordained. Oddly enough, she had a son. My obedience allowed me to meet and have the privilege of being a father to one of the greatest young men I have ever had the pleasure to meet.
While I was in Pensacola, FL recently screening our film, Restored Me, for the first time in my life I felt homesick. I have traveled half way around the world several times for my last employer and I was only concerned about the smoothness of the flights. In Pensacola, I could not get to see my kids soon enough. I would have flown in a hurricane if it meant getting me home to see them quickly. With my oldest being in college and knowing that it was going to be a few more months before seeing him only added to my anguish. Yes, I am supposed to be this raging warrior, but I was so overcome with paralyzing sadness and loss. I called a few friends and just cried as I told them how I felt. I knew I was going home and that gave me comfort to move on and continue my trip. I remember Bishop Garnes praying for me and sharing that it was a good thing to feel this way. A good thing to cherish my sons and feel connected to them so deeply.
That care was made evident when I had to give my 11 year old CPR. He had an asthma attack so severe and rapidly that he just passed out while sitting on the toilet. I desperately called his name repeatedly. I shook him violently by the shoulders, but, there was no response. I carried him from the toilet, placed him on the floor next to my bed, and began administering CPR. I had taken a CPR class taught by my father when I was 12. Those life saving steps rushed back to me. It was like I had been using them every day of the 34 prior years. The paramedics arrived, after what appeared to have been an eternity, and took over. A similar thing happen with my youngest, Jaxen, while we were at a water park. Jaxen wanted to join his brothers in a large, wave tank. The water depth ranged from ankle deep to almost 7 feet while the waves were active. I recall feeling the prompting of the Holy Spirit to have Jaxen put his life jacket on in addition to the inner tube. I am so thankful that I did. The waves began to carry him out to the deep end where the waves originated. I’m not a real strong swimmer, but I have had lessons enough to know my limitations. I have a health respect for the water. The waves began to carry him further, faster away from me and it scared both of us. “Daddy!! Save me, I’m scared!” Jaxen shouted in a panic and cry. Paralyzed, I fixated on his eyes. The got smaller and smaller as he drifted away from me. I saw tears running down his cheeks. He was in about 5 feet of water and in no real danger, but you could not have told him that. I began to swim against the “waves” to get him, but I was not able make any headway. Jaxen drifted further crying and screaming more anxiously as he drifted further away from me. Like when I was administering CPR, all of a sudden there was rush over me. I was suddenly able swim through the oncoming waves. Grabbing his had must has been what an olympic swimmer felt like on the last turn of a record breaking heat. I swam towards the sidewall of the tank, lifted him up on the ladder, pulled off his inner tube and followed him up and out of the tank. What was probably only a 30 foot total swim felt like a 1600 meter race for a gold medal. In both cases, God was there and saved my sons. God took those moments and showed each of my sons who He was to them. To Rhyen, God was a healer. To Jaxen, a protector. God was each, and so much more, all at the same time.
Each of those rescues left me with knocking knees, a quivering stomach, and wondering “what if…?” I found myself handcuffed by thoughts of unrealized tragedy and potential loss. I asked myself “what would I have done if one or more of my sons would have died. The Lord spoke to me through past sermons from my pastor and words of encouragement from my mentor, friends, and this film to let those thoughts go. I had to dwell on good things. Phil. 4:8 tells us to dwell, think, or consider what is true. Truth in both situations with my sons was that they were saved. They are alive, and none of my wondering can change that.
Wondering means to doubt. Doubt means to mistrust. All our trust should be in God. for anything and we have not been give a spirit of fear. We have given one of power (2 Tim. 1:7). Fear prevents us from activating our faith. Faith is more powerful than fear, but our sinful nature doesn’t want us to believe it. 1 Cor. 2:5 tells us that our faith does not rest on on us at all, but on God’s power. The most spectacular thing is, not only does God have all power, but he is a mighty warrior that loves us, cheers for us, and lives inside of us (Zeph. 3:17). Don’t over think it. Life is only as complicated as we make it. God is very basic and simple. All we have to love Him will all of our heart, mind, and soul, and He will take care of the rest (Mark 12:30, Prov. 3:5).
Lord, thank you for not letting me wonder if you love me, or if you are even there. Even when Your voice is silent, your creation demonstrates Your glory and proves that You have not left me alone. Even when I want to doubt Your love for me, you give me breath and strength. For this I thank You. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
- Phil. 4:8 (NLT) – And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
- 1 Cor. 2:3-10 (NIV) –
3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
God’s Wisdom Revealed by the Spirit
6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
the things God has prepared for those who love him—
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.
- 2 Tim. 1:7 (NET) – For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.
- Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT) –
For the LORD your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”
- Mark 12:29-30 (NLT) – 29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORDour God is the one and only LORD. 30 And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’
- Prov. 3:5-6 (NLT) –
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.