Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
August 25th, 2013, on our way home from church, my oldest son decided he wanted to be baptized.
He had expressed interest in the past, asking about why we get baptized, why is it important and how long do you have to stay under water.
So, when our church announced they would be baptizing anyone who wanted to follow in the steps of Christ they could do so at our church picnic that afternoon. They were offering a short class on what our church believed about baptism and they would be available to ask any questions.
As a family we decided to go. It was great to learn our church’s mission statement on such a monumental decision in a Christian’s life. We are baptized because Jesus was. We are baptized because God commanded us. We are baptized because we want the world to know that we identify ourselves with Christ and that we are His followers. I. Am. A. Christian.
My son had been on the fence about being submerged into the water in front of an audience. He had no doubts that he loved God, no doubts that Jesus is the Son of God. He didn’t like all the attention.
We didn’t force him to decide. We all went to the class to learn and not make a decision right then and there. We left without signing him up to be baptized that afternoon. In the car on the way home we asked the boys if they had any questions. Did they learn anything? Were they interested in being baptized?
Both boys hemmed and hawed about it, growing increasingly shy so we didn’t pursue it. Before we were able to merge onto the highway Tucker, our oldest, pipes up, with surety in his voice, and tells us he wants to be baptized.
Naturally, I want to start calling my family and squeal that Tucker has just made THE decision but my husband and I, cautiously, quiz him. It’s the end of summer and pools are closing so we had to make sure this wasn’t his last shot at swimming before school started.
With a peace and certainty in our hearts we believed our son was ready. He understood it was his public profession of faith that he was a follower of Christ. Alleluia! I immediately sent out a text to all the grandparents, ending it with “sorry for the short notice but you just can’t plan these things.”
They all showed up.
We had several hours to digest what was about to take place in our family, in our lives as parents. I felt like the expanse of the universe opened up and I was weightless. My son wants to follow Christ. I must admit I got teary eyed but held it together. This was every Christian parents validation that you did something right. Out of all the mistakes we make 1. My children are still alive 2. They want to follow Christ.
Tucker and I stood in line watching countless others before us get baptized. He was eager to watch, perhaps taking notes on what to expect and what to do when it was his turn. Young adults, families, men, women and kids, we were all there to shout out we belong to the body of Christ. Exciting stuff to see new creations rising out of the water into a throng of new family members.
Finally, it was our turn. I watched with eager anticipation as Tucker’s youth minister asked him if he believed Jesus Christ was the son of God, “Yes” and if Tucker had asked Him to be his personal Savior, “Yes.”
Nothing can prepare you for that moment to watch your child take such a defining step. A swelling pride rises in my chest, a rush of relief as we deliver our child into the hands of God and a quiet praise on my lips (because if I spoke it out loud I wouldn’t be able to contain myself). Wow.
My, my, my, look at God.
Pray for Tucker when you think about it. He has identified himself with Christ. The world is against him. He is a babe in Christ just learning how to walk and make decisions in his life that are not popular today. Pray for us, his parents to “lead him in the way that he should go.”
I have plenty more to say. We have a younger son that wanted to follow in the footsteps of his brother, a son who once wanted to be baptized because of the chance to be in water. How do you tell your child he’s not ready to make that step? How do you not crush his spirit and deny him the opportunity?
That’s my next post. Stay tuned.