This past Sunday was Mother's Day. What we once called "Baby Dedication" we now call "Parent/Child Dedication" at The Brook. As we had several families on our platform, they were there not so much for some supernatural blessing over their child(ren), but to say as parents to our church family: "I'm standing here before you to prayerfully commit to take every moment captive that the Lord gives me to lead these precious ones to Jesus!" And as a church, it's our opportunity to prayerfully come alongside them and say, "We're here to walk with you."
In conjunction with Parent/Child Dedication, we showed a brief video in our services telling some of the story of how God has worked in the life of one of our families (who also happen to be some of my close friends) to open their home and their lives to foster children. We wanted to tell this story first of all because it's a powerful and beautiful picture of sacrificial love, but we also wanted to share it because it illuminates the reality that none of us know how long we have to shape, mold, influence, and disciple these little lives God places in our care. My friend Stephanie shared that the hardest part of fostering is when the child is taken out of your home - when they leave. Going in, you hardly ever know when or how that will take place. And the thing is, even though almost all of us who have children of our own are lulled to sleep with this false sense of security that we actually have control over things like that, the reality is that none of us have any idea how long we'll have this opportunity. We aren't promised tomorrow. Neither are our children. As parents - biological, foster, adoptive, whatever the case may be - we must seize every moment to lead them to Jesus.
When I uttered these words, I didn't tell God that I needed an example.
I wasn't attempting to proclaim prophecy, but simply state the truth.
But sadly, yesterday, one day after making that statement, it unfolded right in the middle of our lives.
The Brown's are part of our school family at PCS. They have 4 biological children and 2 adopted from the DR. Yesterday afternoon, on the way to pickup their 2 adopted kids, the mom and all 4 other children were in a horrible car accident, as their Suburban was broadsided by an 18-wheeler, causing it to roll over. The mother and 3 year old are going to be OK. Their 8 & 9 year old daughters are both still in critical condition fighting for their lives. [Please pray for Sarah & Rebecca - for the almighty, healing power and presence of God to fall on their little lives and do a miracle that will bring Him glory.] And it breaks my heart to write these words, but their 5 year old son did not survive the accident. Even though I was not present when all of this took place, I can assure you that it happened in the blink of an eye.
When I heard this news yesterday I thought I was going to throw up.
I thought my knees were going to buckle out from underneath me.
I felt that rush of sweat-filled anxiety come over me that feels like your soul is falling out.
I wept and pray some more.
When I went into my daughter's room yesterday afternoon to share this with her and my son, and to pray with them, I could barely hold myself together or get through the prayer.
We weren't made for this broken world. We were made for something greater.
When we read that "all creation is longing for redemption" - that everything God has made is longing for the world to be put back the way it should be - we only need these kinds of moments to remind us of why we truly, desperately long for "all things to be made new".
How many times do we need to be reminded to seize every moment?
How many times do we need to be reminded that the eternal perspective is the only one that gives us hope and peace?
Will I ever get to the place where I don't need the Lord to painfully remind me of how desperately I need Him - not just today, but in every moment and every breath?
I'm not promised tomorrow.
Neither is my wife.
Neither are my children.
Lord, give me the wisdom, strength, courage, and selflessness to desperately pursue you and to lead my children to do the same. Give me the wisdom to preach the Gospel to myself and to them daily - that my identity is not only found, but complete in who Jesus is and what He did on the cross. Empty me of the lure of the temporary and set my heart on fire for what's eternal.
Lord, please help me to seize every moment that you give me.
Lord, pour out your mercy, grace, presence and power on this beautiful, young family. Show your power! Be glorified. Bring healing. Only you can.