In Phoenix this weekend, I enjoyed getting to be a part of an authentic Johnson bday celebration of great magnitude. It made me smile to see whipped cream on people’s faces and three generations of Johnson trying to dance. I was a little on the outside (my own doing) because the Johnson sense of family is rather foreign to me, so I often don’t know how to participate without feeling super self-conscious. Regardless, it was a joy and an honor to be included.
In the evenings, Dave, Lisa and I quieted down and watched TV, but, true to form, my Phoenix parents didn’t let me leave without giving me much to think about.
That boy has been rather a heavy thought to me for the past few weeks. Mostly, I’ve been preparing my heart and mind to move on from him.
I find it difficult to move on from anyone ever because it seems like just a breath away from the not-able-to-bring-myself-to talk-with-you or the you-don’t-live-up-to-our-standards that were both said and done to me. I don’t want to abandon him. I don’t want to dismiss or give up on him. So I kept theologizing myself into being the gospel to him.
Which, I think, is good and right in some ways.
If we have a chance to love the unlovable or grant unmerited grace, I believe we should usually do it. That’s a part of being an image bearer, intended to reflect the Almighty. It’s a chance to show someone who has never known God what He is like.
However, there’s a fine line between the necessary endeavor of constantly becoming more and more conformed to the image of the Son (Romans 8:29) and trying to be the Son in someone’s life.
I don’t know if I’ve crossed that line or not, but I do know that not moving on now would be a willful step over that line. In prayer, I’ve been convicted that he belongs to God and not to me.
I’ve tried to be a friend to him. I’ve done everything I could think of to help, to rebuke, to encourage, to correct, to love, to point back to the Father, and none of it has worked, and thus I hand him over to the Creator, knowing that he wasn’t ever truly mine.
The idea of not being able to save another is intellectually easy enough. It’s painfully obvious that I’m hardly capable of making right choices on a good day, and it’s even more obvious that I’m generally sinful and therefore inadequate to save myself, much less to make substitutionary atonement for another.
And yet, the intellect isn’t always what guides us.
My heart would rescue him if I could. My heart would give anything – short of nothing – to see him thrive. My heart seeks his good, often at great cost to itself.
So, though I’d love for it to be right to continue that seeking – for God to command me to chase after that boy – I have been given no such command and I will leave it up to the Lord, Who holds that boy in the palm of His hands.
And I leave you with some lyrics. I’ve been into a band called The Afters, of late, and one of their songs seems pretty appropriate here, for its message and because that boy is the one who taught me to close my eyes and enjoy music.
“Thank God I’m Not The One”
How could You speak when all your friends checked out
How could You love after the great betrayal
How could You reach out when they nailed You down
True as true can be
That’s what they say You are to me when I’m so fake
Does Your heart ache
If I had been the one I would not have been that strong
If I had been the one, yeah, I’d have been long gone
How could You keep on breathing in and out
How could You watch while Your whole world was dying
Did it all happen cause we let You down[Repeat Chorus]
And all the things we think of as eternal would come undone
All I have to say when I’m praying
Is “Thank God I’m not the One”