I heard the heartache in my best friend’s voice, “We had to hospitalize our son last night. He was threatening violence.” I could feel the pain and anguish through the phone lines and my heart went out to her.
My dearest friend is living day in and day out with an incredibly difficult situation. Times without number she has felt that God has asked her to handle situations that are beyond what she can bear. And yet, every time I see God’s grace exhibited in her life and in the life of her son.
Seven years ago, she and her husband chose to love a young boy that was not their own. They welcomed him into their family and he became theirs. He immediately had all the privileges of a son – love, care, family vacations, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles and cousins, wealth and most of all he was able to learn about God and His love for him.
(Isn’t that what God did for us! He chose us to be His own children and welcomed us into the family with all the rights as an heir. We hold the same privileges as His Son, Jesus. “But when the right time came, God sent His Son . . . God sent Him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that He could adopt us as his very own children . . . Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are His child, everything He has belongs to you.” Galatians 4:4-5, 7)
This journey has not been easy, in fact I know she would say that it is, hands down, the hardest thing she has ever done or will do. And there is no guarantee of the future.
You see, their little boy, even though he has been given this amazing gift of love, cannot accept it. His past and the things that happened to him before he came to live with them have scarred his life and are holding him captive. He is unable to embrace this love, to bask in its warmth and to allow its light to shine in his life. He has built a fortress around his heart and to let that love in is too frightening and threatening for him. He wants the love and is drawn to it but then pulls away because it threatens to break down his defenses.
As I watch this gifted and talented young boy run from true, unfailing, unconditional love, I cannot help but see myself reflected in him. I do this very thing with God. I am His chosen child and I want His love, in fact I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame but then I find myself pulling away because His love exposes my innermost being and I don’t like what I see. . . Why is it so hard to receive pure and undefiled love? Why does my heart do this yo-yo dance with God? Why do I allow fear to keep me from completely enjoying and reveling in God’s incredible love? . . . . .
And then I think of my friend and her incredible love for her son. She has given everything for him. She loves him unconditionally and no matter how she is treated by him, she continues to give of herself, to endure through the pain and to love unconditionally.
She is my hero! She is the strongest person I know and she demonstrates God’s great love and incredible patience with him every day 24-7, 365 days a year! In her weakness I see her strength in God grow and in her brokenness and pain I have seen God bring her unspeakable joy.
And as I see myself reflected in her son, I see God reflected in her. . . His grace that I did nothing to deserve, His patience when I am obnoxious and hurtful, His love when I am unlovely, His gentle touch when I am hurting and in pain. That’s how my friend loves her son and that’s how God loves me!
How great the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only son
To make a wretch His treasure!