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When Wonder Isn’t Where It’s Supposed to Be!

September 6, 2012

When I served the youth of an east Texas church there was always one interesting statistic that truly stood out to me.  Even though we were in a buckle of what many like to call the Bible belt; in this small university town existed a surprising number.  In fact a recent newspaper article addressing sexual education in that county indicated that the teen birth rate there was at 21 percent.

Now before we go any further, you need to know that this is not a blog about teens and Godly sexuality.  Instead this is a story of wonder.  A story that I was inspired to write upon hearing that Youth Specialties was looking for stories of Wonder for their 2012 National Youth Workers Convention.

Dating, relationships, and sex were discussed on a yearly basis and throughout the year it was not a topic that we shied away from.  I was not so naive to think that none of the teens that I served hadn’t been sexually active.  I also knew that a teen pregnancy in a group of young people I was called to serve was probably a matter of “when “and not “if”.

I remember when a young girl in the middle of her junior year came to me with fear and tears and told me that she was close to 2 months along.  She was a fairly active youth that had some deep seeded relationships in our community.

The baby had been conceived in a situation where there hadn’t been much of a long term romantic relationship going on.  The father was planning on going away to school soon and the young girl was feeling some pressure from him to terminate the pregnancy.  There was talking and praying with the teen to let her know that: 1. she was far enough along that an abortion was no simple procedure and 2.  That she was not alone in this; and lastly 3. There was grace in this and we had to trust that Christ would reveal it.

I also promised that I would not go run tell her parents right away, but that within a short number of 2 days, she would need to tell them.  I also promised her that I would come along at that time to be there for her and her family during this scary crazy experience.

The next day I consulted with a local pregnancy crisis center.  The ladies were beautiful souls and were eager and ready to help.  I set up an appointment and encouraged the teen to go to them where they would first do the checkups needed to assess the mother’s and the baby’s health.  The next thing they would do is talk to her about what to expect and then go over every option from birth to adoption to abortion, heavily encouraging the first two.   All of this was free of charge.  Prayer was answered when she decided to show up for the appointment.

After the appointment she called to let me know with relief and a smile that she and the baby were both healthy and that she had decided to tell her parents that evening.  I assured her I would be ready and to just give me a heads up when to be there.

I prepared for lots of things and lots of scenarios from the best to the worst.  However I was not prepared to see the wonder that God let me witness in that family’s breakfast area.

The teen, her close friend that her family had taken in (yes that should have been a foreshadowing of how well this family gets it) and I walked through the door.

The father saw me and immediately had the “hmm, what’s going on?” look as we shook hands.

“Dad, we need to talk” she barely whispered.

The friend and I took up posts to the side and I was praying nonstop.  The young mother to be didn’t say anything but tentatively handed him an envelope and then stepped away about 8 feet with fear in her eyes.  Looking confused, the father glanced at her and the opened the envelope.  With his big strong, all business, blue collar hands he pulled out an ultrasound picture of what would be his granddaughter.  After a few seconds of the puzzle pieces coming together he looked at his daughter, “this is yours?” he asked.  As a tear rolled down her cheek and with a whimper she gave the smallest of nods.  The nod led to more tears and a cry that was not going to be held back.

This is when it happened.  That’s when I saw a moment of the wonder of our God that I will never forget.

The father could have done any number of things…but in one of the most beautiful gestures that could be seen, all he did was hold out his arms wide. With a twitch of his fingers he motioned for her to come to him.  The space was crossed and she was wrapped in his arms.  As she cried into his shoulders he just did what a good loving father, like the God who created us, does. With whispers and strokes he held her and soothed her and let her know that he loved her.

How long? It seemed like forever… It could have been just a minute.  But isn’t that the way it happens when God shows us wonder?  We stand in awe and realize that we will never be able to understand how amazing and unending and how powerful his love is.  We lose track of time, perhaps because well, God’s love is truly timeless…

Not once during that time or during the time that she told her mom (who arrived later) was the word disappointed ever used.  Practical decisions were made and plans were discussed.  But never was the phrase “I’m disappointed in you” used.

You ask people to talk about God’s wonder and they may talk about sunrises, sunsets, mountains and oceans.  And yes, even for me those places bring about great wonder.  However, when asked about the wonder that God lets us witness… Well, the wonder of pure unconditional Godlike love that I saw that day will always be near the top of that list for me… I pray that you will recall moments or witness times where you get to witness the wonder of God’s powerful love.

God’s Peace

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From → Spirituality

2 Comments
  1. Pat Marsh permalink

    Jud, what a great post of love and grace! Something that came to my mind reading this is the challenge to love unconditionally even through times that are not as tough. Loving someone on a daily basis because you yourself have been loved by the MOST HIGH! Thanks for sharing dude

    • The thing about it Pat.. As some students and I were talking about it tonight..no where is it said in scripture or mentioned by Christ himself that unconditional love is easy

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