The latter led me into uncharted waters, into a place where I could not control my own destiny, into a place where my choice becomes insignificant, or better, no choice at all. To say it bluntly, God used His word to reform my life and faith, humbling me quickly and bringing me to the realization that there was NOTHING I could do to earn God's favor or forgiveness. I could not even choose to accept it apart from Him.
Let me tell you, folks. This was hard. Everything I read in the Bible affirmed my new suspicions, but with each affirmation came a gamete of hard questions.
- So, since I was not reformed at my salvation, am I saved?
- Did God really choose me? (It's obvious I had relied on my own works in the process for a long period of time.)
- What about John 3:16 and God loving the world?
- So God really DOES choose people for hell?
And the list goes on. But even above the questions circling my own salvation, one question left me with many... dare I say it again... many sleepless nights, and it was:
- But what about my kids? Does that mean I have no control over their decision?
Because somewhere in my mind I felt if we read enough scripture together, did enough Bible studies, walked through church doors, served in enough ministries, prayed together enough and worshipped together in our home, I COULD SAVE OUR CHILDREN.
It's a heavy load. But I tend to do better when I have control. Or at least I thought I did.
And then my oldest, almost 5, rocked my world. He's obedient, overall well behaved, fun, good spirited, and sweet, but more and more and more we were seeing a characteristic come out in him that scared me: he has a very hard time trusting.
It came out everywhere. In the car, if he knew where we were going, but we had chosen to go a way unfamiliar to him, he heavily doubted that we knew how to get him there. Upon promise after promise by us to not let him fall (riding his bike, monkey bars, hanging upside down, you name it), he'd doubt us and cry until it was over (in which he'd then express great joy). He's a 'what if' asker, even if the answer is certain. Trusting does not come easy for him. Nor does it for me (obviously, hence my salvation questions listed previously).
And one day, when we were in the car, traveling yet again to a known destination on an unknown path, he questioned us multiple times on if we really knew how to get there, and it occurred to me.
There is not a thing I could do to convince this child to be in the faith. There's not enough scripture to be read, enough worship songs to be sung, not enough prayers to be said at the table that would encourage him, in and of themselves, to trust in the Lord Jesus.
Now, these aren't bad things, and these things may very well be utilized in bringing him to faith, but ultimately, the Lord must bring him to faith. HE must do the work. He must make the blind see. He must heal the lame.
And for the first time, in the car that day, I became ever so thankful that his salvation doesn't rest on my shoulders. Me, a sinner, a failure, a mere mortal. To have control over any one person's eternity would be ridiculous. There is freedom in not having the control I so desperately thought I needed.
The husband and I decided that, should the Lord choose to save our kids, and we pray urgently and passionately that He does and He does quickly, that we will know for certain that it will be nothing shy of a miracle from God.
After all, there are those of us who don't trust easily and don't rely on others well, and when God can bring us into a faith and trust in Him that leads us to confidence and assurance in our faith, well, that is something that only God can do. He satisfies that one great need.
Praying, anticipating and pleading for salvation -