THOSE MOMENTS Andy Hollifield 11-7-19
Matthew 21:16 “Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” (ALL SCRIPTURE IS KJV)
When it comes to honest and sincere worship, we have to look no further than the heart of a child. I have written before of Tyler’s experience with seeing a man in his room that I couldn’t see and was talking to him when he was still pretty much non-verbal. I have also written of the time he was in bed and I heard him talking. When I checked on him and asked who he was talking to he replied, “God.” He was still unable to talk for the most part but had been subjected to the Lord and the gospel enough that he had no trouble believing in him at an early age. I believe the first event was simply a visit from his guardian angel. Whoever it was, Tyler saw him and wasn’t the least bit afraid of him and was very comfortable talking to him.
There was also the Talent Show at the end of his first year of sixth grade. At Open House at the beginning of the year, his teacher told us Tyler was going to be in the talent show and sing with her. He wanted to sing “I’ll Fly Away.” The fact he picked a gospel song was a big blessing. The bad part was what I told his teacher. I said “good luck with that.” We had been to every school program that his teachers said he was in throughout elementary school. Time and time again we watched as he either refused to get on stage or just stood there with his class while they did all the work. Little did I know that the talent show was going to be different. Not only was his mom glowing when she related the details to me, but his teacher couldn’t wait to talk about it the next time she saw me. She said that not only was Diane and her crying, but there wasn’t a dry eye in the place. It isn’t every day you get to see an autistic kid step out of his comfort zone in such a dramatic fashion.
I have had some other instances where Tyler shocked me with something he said that I wouldn’t have thought about him saying. Once when we were delivering shoeboxes in McDowell County, we were stacking them on a hand truck and he suddenly grinned and said, “I love this stuff” referring to the work we were doing. Other times while listening to either preaching or gospel music, we would hear him singing along and sometimes even shouting. I know he may have been mimicking to a certain degree but even then you know it comes from his heart.
The best one of all was on a Saturday night in March a few years ago. He had just finished walking the treadmill and proudly got off and proclaimed to his mom that he had just been saved. He had been watching a Gaither Homecoming cd while he was exercising. After asking him all the usual questions you would ask a child, I was convinced that he knew exactly what he was talking about.
Just recently we were driving and out of the blue while listening to music he said, “I like that.” Today he gave me another one of “those moments.” We had just left the credit union and were talking about one of the young ladies there who plays gospel music in her office all the time. Neither of us could remember her name. He made the statement about her; “She’s a gospel music fanatic like I am.”
The reason I wrote this is for those parents, grandparents, or caretakers of children who aren’t behaving quite that way. We are having some issues with Tyler that we never thought we would have concerning church attendance. We have taken him to church all of his life only to have him get to the place where he refuses to go. Sometimes my mom reminds me that God knew about it when he gave him to us to raise.
I know there are a lot of other folks going through similar situations. You have been faithful, kept them in church, taught their memory verses, taught them to sing and love God, only to have them rebel years later for no good reason. As you have to answer endless questions from concerned folks, you are embarrassed and wonder where you failed as a parent. We beat ourselves up a lot with Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” We blame ourselves for their lack of faithfulness all the while taking the verse out of its context. It says when he is old he will not depart from it. It never said they wouldn’t stray and wander off at times. Some of the greatest folks in the bible wandered off but at some point but turned again to the Lord and did great things. Their experiences during that time may humble them and also teach them lessons God couldn’t teach them any other way.
You’re not alone! You hide the pain and doubt behind your best Sunday smile all the while slowly dying inside. What makes it worse is the Devil will call your attention to how bad you failed as a parent and how bad God has let you down. God hasn’t let you down and he will honor his word. You just keep training and doing the best you can to “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). They might ignore you but they can’t ignore God. So, when those hard times come, don’t give up on them because they might be able to get out of your sight, but they will never get so far that God can’t see them. That is the time you need to think back to easier times as a parent and seek comfort from the Lord and remember all of “Those Moments” from better times. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!