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Many have been praying for us.  Thank you.  It was a busy August day, soon after school started.  We were preparing for our big Wednesday night kick-off with over 100 more kids than last year.  It was very tense, even though we had planned, and double checked to make sure everything was ready.  There was stress to say the least.  I know you understand what I am describing.  The first day of anything at church is the hardest.

My stomach was already in knots because the long awaited and dreaded day of taking my friend to court for his sentencing was here.  He had made some terrible mistakes and was now going to face that.  We had been meeting weekly to pray together, but you can only imagine how my anxiety was peaking at new levels for him and his family.

I was frantically checking everything in my office and in our classrooms for our kick-off event when I get a text that my friend’s wife could not go to the courthouse today.  It was simply too difficult.  Could I take him?  Of course my answer was yes, but my heart sank deeper.  My stress level and anxiety shot through the roof as I searched for some Tylenol for my crazy headache.

My friend began his sentence as I began my 30 minute drive back to the church.  I was numb.  I was in shock.  What just happened?  Somehow I needed to pull it together since the new Wednesday night Kick-off was drawing closer.  I somehow became immersed in the planning and simply stuffed my feelings deep so I could love these kids and their families.

The children arrived and were exploding with energy. More headache meds please!  The evening went great and everyone was super pumped to start a new year of Bible Drill and Missions.  I love Bible drill and working with the fourth graders. This year has been a huge blessing to me.  When the last kid was picked up and the final smile was given, I was completely wiped out.  Have you ever been so drained that you couldn’t even eat or listen to the radio?  My drive home was quiet except for all the voices in my head, “Remember to do this tomorrow! Don’t forget that you promised that thing by next week! I wonder if my friend is safe? I hope his family has stopped crying by now.” And so much more.

When I got home, I sat down to rest and the phone rang.  My son was in trouble.  I needed to act fast, yet think it through.  The voice on the phone said, “He is addicted to drugs… ———————————-“  There must have been a long pause from me, since the voice on the other end asked if I was still there.  I had heard a lot of bad news today, but nothing could have prepared me for that.  My son?  Not my family? Are you sure?  How do you know?  Then the voice of my beautiful baby boy, now a grown man, said, “Dad, I’m sorry.” Then he began to cry.  Me too. 

I thought, “How does this happen?”  He experienced all I can offer in children’s ministry and I’d givien it a great effort at home.  I thought I was really giving it my best. Not perfect, but trying.  I felt like the pain of the day could not even compare to the tragedy I was now facing.  What do I do and how do I do it?  But little did I know, God was already at work.  He was saving my son’s life.  I have learned, I don’t have the answers so stop acting like I do, and simply wait upon the Lord.  When you are overwhelmed, just do the next right thing.  God will show you what that one thing is.

We got him home and into a wonderful treatment ranch that stood for Christ.  His healing began as he faced his many issues and relied completely on God.  God is our Champion!  I am so humbled and grateful for His mercy and healing.  We got our little boy back even though he is a grown-up.  He came home before Christmas. 

If you are facing your hardest days, there is strength in the Lord.  Lean on Him completely.  Seek Him, and just do whatever He shows you trusting Him all the way.  We are still doing this and God continues to reveal Himself and His ways as needed. (Philippians 4:6-7)

Thanks for listening.

Mr. Mark

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