A Son in the Jungle
I dropped the boy off at school this morning. Normally that has been a routine activity. I used to watch him get out of the car and go into his small, private school where he would meet his wonderful teachers, interact with his wonderful peers, and sit in a wonderful class of about 12 kids to learn in an insulated environment.
Today was different. Today was the first day of high school. The freshman class has more than 400 students, about twice the size of the entire student body at his last school. Today, I watched him get out of the car and disappear into the jungle. (Okay, maybe it’s not a jungle, but it felt that way when I was in school. Our mascot might as well have been the Tsetse Flies or the Poison Dart Frogs.)
Leading up to the first day, I felt confident. I saw a capable young man fully prepared to navigate the challenges ahead of him. But as I watched him walk into the massive building this morning, I saw a vulnerable kid, remembered that tender heart from his earlier years, and prayed a prayer of protection and favor over my beloved son. Then I cried all the way home.
I’m glad he didn’t see that. He might interpret it as a lack of confidence in his maturity or abilities, and it isn’t that at all. It’s that strange parental mix of love and pride, of missing the past and anticipating the future, of realizing how important this boy is to me. I want him to be well.
I've felt that way at times about all my sons. It seems natural and normal. So in my tears, I wondered if that’s how God feels about all his children. He knows the strength and glory he puts within us, so he isn’t worried. But we live in a jungle, or even a battlefield, and his heart toward his adventurer/warrior kids is tender. He knows how vulnerable we are, but also how invincible we are with him on our side. I wonder if he sheds tears from that strange mix of indefinable loves.
I’m sure he does; we get quite a few prophetic glimpses of his emotions in his Word. (I talk about them a lot in Feeling Like God.) And it warms my heart that he might feel that way about me—not because he’s worried, but because he loves. He knows the jungle is no match for the glory he’s put within his children. And he knows we will be well.
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