Earlier today I received this text from my 23-year-old son:
“This morning when my alarm went off at 4:30 I was still half asleep and totally delirious and I reached over to hit snooze button but for some reason I pressed text and hit a bunch of buttons incoherently not even realizing what I was doing or looking at the screen. Then when I really woke up about 20 minutes later I read it and I had written perfectly with no spelling errors ‘seeking gods face’ which happens to be the title to the prayer book Sean [one of our pastors] got for me that I haven’t touched yet. Looks like God wants me to read that book.”
Now the backstory.
My son was in jail five years ago, his Sonny Corleone hair-trigger temper having caught up with him. But while in God’s solitary confinement—which, by the way was the heavenly Father mercifully making up for the discipline deficiencies of the earthly mother—he read the Bible more than many people read it in a lifetime.
As C.S. Lewis has noted, some changes are not apparent at first but only after they have been going on for quite some time. In the course of years after my son’s release from incarceration, I noticed he had dropped his swagger. I am referring to a very pronounced affectation of movement through a room or street that one would expect of an L.A. rap musician. In hindsight it seems to me now rather a reverse operation of what happened to our forefather Jacob—who started off with a normal walk and ended up with a limp that came with a testimony.
Upon release my son also decided to see if they needed help with the junior high kids at church. I expected at first (O I of little faith) that it was prison conversion stuff and would peter out. Not a bit of it. He is as good as a promise on Sunday mornings, Friday evenings, Wednesday Bible study with the leaders, and every retreat or special community event. One time last summer I was sitting at an outdoor café in town, and who should walk by flocked by a group of seventh and eighth graders with papers in hand, on a scavenger hunt? My son. My blessed son.