Tuesday, December 11, 2007

About Jaden

Jaden in the leaf pile
Dec. 11, 2007
A few days ago when the weather was still nice, I was sitting in the front yard after my walk. Soon, almost-five-year-old Jaden rode around the house on his bike. He whizzed back and forth on the sidewalk between his boundaries. On one pass, his right arm swung at his side. He called back over his shoulder, "See, Mommy! I can drive with one hand."
"Use both hands, Jaden. You’re too young." I wasn’t sure if he heard. The next round he tried it again. Just as I opened my mouth to rebuke him, he veered off into the grass. Although startled, he regained control and came to a stop.
This time I made sure he heard me. "See what I mean? You are too young. You could have wrecked. You must keep both hands on the handle bars." I warned that if he didn’t obey, I’d restrict him from riding until the next day. (I am not permitted to spank him.) He tried to argue, and I said that arguing would get the same results. He began whimpering that he didn’t want to lose his bike. With a wave of my hand, I cheerfully charged him to be off, to ride and enjoy himself. And to obey me.
He rode slowly toward his western boundary. As he neared Amanda’s mailbox, I saw him stop and lay his forehead on his crossed arms, which rested on the handlebars. "He’s either pouting, or praying," I thought. "Dear Father, please help him." Almost before I knew it, he was at my side, whispering in my ear, asking me to forgive him for arguing with me.
"Aww, Jaden, buddy! You make my heart so glad!" I invited him into my lap.
"Who told you to come talk to me?"
"That can hardly be true. Three months ago you wouldn’t have done it unless someone told you to. It was the Holy Spirit, Jaden." He and I had talked previously a couple of times about the way the Lord helps us obey Him: parents who instruct and discipline, siblings who encourage him to obey, the Word, His Spirit.
"See how God is helping you?" He nodded his head against my shoulder. We snuggled silently for a few minutes. Then I told him that I had been thinking about a wicked man I had known, and that God put a verse into my head, "Fret not thyself because of wicked men." Immediately afterward, another verse came to mind, "Let him who glories glory in the Lord." It had caused me to stop fretting and to worship God in wonder.
Then I explained to him that a catechism is a list of questions and answers that help us learn about the teachings of the Bible. "For instance, an important question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism is ‘What is man’s chief end?’" Before I could give the answer, Jaden interjected, "To glorify God."
"Yes, yes. And to enjoy Him forever. So you have been listening!" I went on to give another example. "’What is the first commandment?" Much to my shame, I had to admit to Jaden that I couldn’t remember the answer. He climbed out of my lap. I thought I had lost my audience.
"Where you goin’, buddy?"
"To get my Bible." (I almost wept for joy for the second time in 10 minutes. The Lord never ceases to amaze me!) After a couple of interruptions, we eventually found the answer in Exodus 20.
After we returned inside, he and I were in the entry hall. I stopped because I heard him say wistfully, "I should’ve bought that [mumble]."
"What did you say?"
"You know that library where you can buy books?"
I thought he might be confused. Once we had to correct his misconception that Joel had bought some books from the public library. He thought we could keep them. Then I remembered. "Are you talking about where you went with Joel and Caleb yesterday? Half Price Books?"
"Yes! They had a big Bible right here on the shelf," – he pointed to an imaginary shelf at eye level – "and I said to myself, ‘I should have bought that.’"
"How much money do you have?"
"Oh, it wouldn’t be enough. That Bible would be expensive; it was big!" But, he was off to count his cash.
Our practice has been to give our children their first Bible after they’ve learned to read. Jaden can’t read yet. (It won’t be long.) But you can be sure that a certain young boy will be receiving the Word of God in book form very soon.
- - - - - - - - -
This encounter, and several similar ones, are answers to the prayers of many people. The Lord has been working on dear little Jaden’s heart since at least October 5, 2007, which is when Jaden said he asked Jesus to put His blood on him. Since then family members have observed him spontaneously praying. When questioned, he says he was either asking God to help him, or asking for forgiveness. He has taken the initiative to ask others he has offended to forgive him. There has definitely been a change in our dear son and brother. He has become quite sweet- spirited, tender-hearted and helpful. I wish I could share with you several other incidents that are just precious, and that make my heart sing praises to Yahweh for His goodness to our family.
One way that you can pray for him is that he will understand the concept that the Lord has given the Holy Spirit to help him, and that he will access that power. We will need to lay a lot of groundwork there.
Thank you for all your prayers.

Speaking of prayers . . .
Jaden crawled up in bed with me one day while Joel was in Colorado. I think he was trying to get warm.
I asked him if he ever prayed. (I knew he did; I just wanted to probe.) He nodded.
"What do you pray about?"
"Mr. Amos." Our neighbor moved away the end of July, and Jaden misses him terribly.
"Aww, that’s sweet of you. Do you pray for Joel?"
"What do you say?"
"Thank you God, for my brothers and sisters."

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