Sunday, January 21, 2018

I Am Still Confident of This

February 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

Her long strides barely matched his short-legged sprint. Tugging excitedly on her arm and her heart, he pulled her through the long, noisy hall. “Welcome to Kindergarten,” proclaimed the apple poster on his classroom door.

“Bye, Mom!’ Her eyes glistened as she listened for any hint of trepidation. There was none. Blowing her a kiss, he scuttled through the melee, depositing his backpack in the cubbyhole with his name printed above. Through the glass she observed him glancing around the room, and then brightening at the sight of the block corner. With easy confidence he rushed to join several other novice builders.

“Father, watch over him today and throughout his years of education. May he always be as eager to learn as he is this morning.” The lump in her throat eased as she prayed, stepping out into the sunshine of her first day without him at her heels.

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“Hidden Valley Bible Camp,” read the sign swinging in the breeze, marking a path that descended into underbrush. They had driven three hours to find this place and now her stomach lurched, more from her own anxious thoughts than from careening down the steep hillside.

A smile remained fixed across his freckled face as wide eyes scanned the primitive surroundings. “I can’t believe that you and Dad are letting me spend two weeks here! This is the best!”

Assigned to the same cabin as two others in the registration line, he ran ahead with his new-found friends while she drove to the cabin, then watched him hoist his sleeping bag overhead, claiming the top bunk.

No need to embarrass him with unsolicited displays of affection. She waved and smiled with more sincerity than she felt and ascended the lane, praying as she drove. “Father God, thank you for blessing our son with strength and confidence. Use this time and the people here to create in him a hunger and thirst for you. I entrust him completely to Your care. Amen.”

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He was easy to locate in the procession of graduates identically adorned in shiny robes and tasseled hats. He stood a little taller, a little straighter, every measured step exuding quiet confidence.

Her moist eyes were trained on the boy she had raised who, today, looked more like a man. Clutching her husband’s muscular arm, she listened attentively as a uniformed Marine outlined their son’s accomplishments and welcomed him into the armed services. No summer camp this year. He would report for basic training in two weeks.

“It’s what I have to do, Mom,” he had argued. There was no refuting him.

“So this is what letting go feels like, Lord. It is more painful than I could have imagined. But he is Yours, Lord. Only You know where this commencement will eventually lead. We offer him, Your precious gift to us, to use for Your honor and glory.”

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Suppressing waves of nausea, she clung to the pew in front of her, seeking stability where there was none. Red, swollen eyes were outward indicators of her inward turmoil. Anger, hurt, confusion, incredulity…attempting to label the jumble of emotions was futile. She strained to envision his familiar freckled face with squared jaw and shaved head, smiling his usual confident smile as he waved goodbye. She recalled his tenacity as he hugged her, planting a kiss on her forehead. Why, then all this talk of her son in past tense? Surely he would march in, joining the ranks of his somber-looking comrades very soon.

Grief and reality joined cruel hands, gripping her as the account was read of his final moments –his warning shout, the ambush, an explosion, the last words from his lips, “Help me, Jesus!”

Finally the voice of her son spoke directly to her in the words of David being read from Psalm 27. “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”*

And she whispered, “Help me, Jesus!”

*Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)

I am a preschool teacher, as well as the director of education and music for Heart of East Africa. I have always loved to read and write, so I enjoy introducing my students to exciting tales and holding their hands as they learn to form their first letters. John, my husband of 36 years, and I have three married sons and six beautiful grandchildren. To stop by Sharlyn Guthrie’s blog and pay a visit, click here:  Dancin’ On Rainbows

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