Before I wrapped this up and publish it, a quick reflection: It’s November and this is something I wrote back in April of this year. I read it again this morning and decided I wanted to put this on my blog.
I think it’s okay to be transparent and say, “I just don’t have it all figured out.” I don’t have all the answers…and as I read of the power and impact within not only Jesus’ ministry, but that of his followers…all I can say is the examples I see of the Christian faith with my own eyes has very little resemblance to what I read of in the Gospels. Does that then mean that the Christian faith is no different than any other faith, or does that mean the many who call ourselves “followers” of Christ are seriously missing out on the fullness of our faith? I choose to believe the ladder.
So for the record, whatever you choose to read from me, know this, I am simply a man in pursuit…I’ve arrived nowhere. I want to have answers for the father I speak of below…but I want answers that are so much more than words…
A Father without Answers
The father approached me as I sat alone before church. Mo was upstairs getting our granddaughter squared away in children’s church and would soon be joining me. The man sat down with a chair in between us and asked if I was Gordon Walker. My natural reflect was to say, “No” because I have a tendency to want to avoid involvement, but I said I was, partly because I knew this guy from about 9 years ago and I figured he already knew the answer to his question.
I went on to remind him I was his son’s basketball coach in middle school. He responded that this was why he wanted to speak with me. His son is battling with some legal problems and is currently out on a bond posted by this father.
Yet today, this father was desperately trying to figure out how to either get his son hospitalized or get his bond revoked so the father could know his son was safe. Think about that one a moment…this father’s circumstances are so dire, jail could actually be a safer place for his son to be right now. Only a desperate parent can truly appreciate the kind of circumstances that would drive someone to this type of reasoning.
But you see, it wasn’t the legal issues which concerned the father at this moment. It was the addiction and it’s potential for totally destroying this young man’s life.
This father was in tears and desperate to protect and save his son. In his desperation he asked, “Gordon, what do I do?”………. “Lord, what do I say?” My human-service-hat came on and we talked about getting the boy’s psychiatrist to assist in placing a 72-hour hold on this kid and have him admitted to a psych unit for observation and stabilization. Then, there was detox…but the son would have to willfully go that route.
The father stated that he tried the route of hospitalization but his son had not demonstrated any tendency toward suicidal thoughts. We both knew anything was possible for a person in a scared and perceived hopeless situation when drugs are involved, and if that boy caught any wind of his dad’s intentions to get his bond revoked, it was highly likely the son would disappeared off the grid.
A Religion without Answers
I told the father that addiction is a spiritual issue and I believe it must be dealt with spiritually. Treatment is great because it can address thinking errors and give a person tools needed to respond when temptations come along, but to truly be free from addiction, it has to be dealt with spiritually. The father agreed whole-heartedly. I sat there silently asking myself how this helps the father in this desperate moment.
We talked some more, and it ended with me lamely saying “I’ll pray for you.” I’m embarrassed to admit this was my final answer to the father who was desperately reaching out for direction.
As Mo and I sat through the church service, I kind of listened and it was all good…I think, but I could not let go of the emptiness my faith had in those desperate moments for a man trying to rescue his son.
I came home and quickly went into search mode. I was on a quest to find the story in the bible where a person approached Jesus for healing, but because Jesus could not heal the man, Jesus told the man he would remember him in his prayers to His Father. Then, I remembered that never happened because Jesus walked in a power and an authority that is from Heaven.
Then I remembered the 72 disciples who were commissioned to go out and preach the Gospel. I thought to myself, “Okay, Jesus may not have had any problems, but surely the disciples did.” There will be something within that story that talks about how the disciples had to meet after returning home to process their frustrations with not being able to walk in the supernatural power and authority Jesus did at some point along their journey. When I found the story in Luke 10, I realized it never went that way because the disciples walked in a power and an authority given to them by the Savior.
A Gospel of Power & Authority
The Gospel I read about tells me a different story than what I’ve witnessed in my life. When I read these stories, thoughts well up inside of my heart that I am living so far below what was intended for us. I then think about my conversation this morning with that father. I follow a faith that has answers…and it has power and authority to bring forth those answers.
Yet, in a moment when those answers were needed by a seeking heart, I didn’t walk like a man who had those answers.
Peter’s Extraordinary Request
Peter and the boys are in the boat late at night fighting the winds as they cross the lake. Jesus comes along walking on water and they all freak out at what they’re seeing. Only Peter asks the extraordinary. He asks the Lord to call him out onto the waters. It’s a crazy request and the other guys keep their mouths shut. No one else had the thought, “Hey! Yeah Lord, call me out there too!” Perhaps some freaked a bit and said, “Peter, what are you doing!” Although we don’t know what was taking place in the minds of the others, we do know that only Peter asked the extraordinary. “Lord, call me out there!”
I don’t want to sit and listen to the tearful words of another person in helpless/hopeless situations and have nothing more than a pathetic, “I’ll pray for you” response. However, unless something changes in my walk, I can expect more mediocre responses like this in the future. And for the record, if I do respond like this in the future, there is nothing biblical about it.