I’ve had to patiently withhold the following story as we’ve waited for certain people to be notified of some God-sized things. I really don’t want family members getting information from the blog before they talk with us.
From the very beginning, Amy and I have trusted God would use all of this journey for His good. We also believe we will never truly understand the magnitude and extent of how God will work through Carer’s black eye.
One way we have been encouraged by is through some of the emails from total strangers that have thanked us for the faith we have had in all this. It’s humbling but it is also a reality. If we can’t have faith in our Creator in times like this how dare we claim to have any faith at all? I will say we have been blessed by a peace that passes all understanding. We have been given a strength over the past 6 weeks I didn’t think was possible. We have believed there is a greater thing at work than we can see. This is not a testimony to how great the Malott’s are. However, It IS a testimony to how gracious our Father is. If our story points towards Christ, through our faith in the midst of this storm, then I believe that is an example of God using this for Him.
But there are other ways we have seen God use this, none any closer to home than the following:
Often, while sitting around the house, Topher asks if I will go throw the ball with him in the front yard. It doesn’t really matter what kind of ball, as long as we get to do it together. On this particular day I sensed that moment where he was going to ask me to set aside the electronics and go outside with him. Instead of the normal request he looked at me and asked if we could go upstairs and talk.
Moments later we were sitting in his room and he was struggling to start the conversation. “Dad, we’ve had a good life. I’ve never really had anything bad happen to me right?” He went on to talk about how he has always trusted Amy and I to take care of him. If he needed help with school work, we were there. If there were problems with friends, coaches, or teachers, we were there. He could always trust us to help him out. He went on to say, “But over the past few weeks we’ve found ourself in a situation that you and mom can’t fix. I mean with all of Carter’s stuff, you can’t do anything about it.” A harsh reality for him and us both. He looked me straight in the eyes (funny how that sentence reads in spite of this journey) and said, “I finally realize I can’t simply trust in you and mom to take care of me. I need to put all my trust in God.”
I asked him to explain more about what he was thinking and what’s going on inside. He told me about his selfishness and his desire to be the best at sports, for his sake. He spoke of wanting to be good at school so others would think highly of him. He talked about how, even when he is being a good kid at home, he is doing for himself. “Dad, I need to get off my thrown and allow Christ to be the center of my life.” I spent the next several minutes trying to stop the flow of tears – tears I was pretty sure I had run out of over the recent weeks.
We spent some time talking about a prayer he prayed as a six year old. He clearly told me, “that was because I knew you and mom would be happy with me.” Ouch. Had I lead him to believe that his “salvation” was based on my approval? If so, shame on me. We did discuss the last six years and what he thought Christ had or had not done in his life. He kept coming back to the fact that he can’t say he ever truly gave up his life to Christ, making Him Lord. I told him to truly examine what he felt like he needed to do in this moment. He wanted to think about it some more and then sit down with me and our Junior High Pastor, Warren, later that day.
Several hours later I sat in a room with my oldest son and Warren listening to him softly and tenderly pray. His raw prayer, spoken in his very own words, was a simple request that Christ would remove him from his throne and that He would take over his life. At that moment I prayed, “Thank you God for proving yourself once again to be sovereign and Lord over everything. If, for no other reason, Carter had to endure this journey, then it was completely worth it.” One day Carter will understand the significance of this. And, as I have prayed countless times before, I pray Carter will have the same revelation – the simple fact he is in need of a Savior that he can trust and make his King.
Praise God that He is always at work. In a time where Amy and I were focused on Carter’s problem, God was working on Topher’s. While God was providing physical healing for our youngest, He was providing eternal healing for our oldest. Praise God for His amazing sovereignty. And praise God, that in all things, He will receive the glory due His name.
This is not a story about Carter’s eye, or even Topher’s surrender. It is a story of how God is working to mend a broken world – showing us our need to lose our selfishness and trust Him to have His rightful place on the throne of our lives.