Who gets saved sitting in a claw foot bathtub? I thought. Sitting on the closed antique pull-string toilet, where I found myself so often in the last year, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the story that this would be for him. You see, James regularly goes to that old bathtub to sit and think. Sometimes he goes when his behavior requires some extra thinking time. Sometimes he goes to get away from the world for a bit. Sometimes, he takes a clipboard and gets his schoolwork done back there. Most of the time, that’s the place where we have the hardest and the best conversations. So, I suppose that it makes sense that he was sitting in the bathtub and I was sitting on the closed toilet when he said, “Mom, I need to talk to you about being saved.”
We’ve had the conversation several times now, but I could tell that this time was different. There was an urgency in his voice and I had the feeling that he was serious about it this time. As I began to talk to him, he said, “Mom, I know that I have to believe with my heart and confess with my mouth, but I’m just….I’m just….well, I’m just so bad sometimes. I just can’t get it right.”
Haven’t we all felt like this sometimes? My heart went out to him, knowing what it’s like to feel the weight of your sin. I think it’s particularly so for kids like James. I think they not only carry the weight of their own sin, but also the weight of their past, and the weight of sin that isn’t even their own. So, I talked to him a bit more explaining, and then Dad came in and climbed in the claw foot tub with James and took over the talk. Yeah, it was quite the sight.
After a while, they came out of the bathroom and announced that James had accepted the wonderful gift of salvation. I don’t think anything is a better moment for a parent. Birth is amazing, but this rebirth…it’s better. And for a child that wasn’t naturally born to me, it was almost like a make-up for that missed time. Isn’t God crazy good like that?
He is in the business of redemption…sweet, beautiful redemption. And nobody does it better. No one could orchestrate this scenario. No one could ever dream up being saved in an old bathroom in a schoolhouse. Just God.
We have prayed for that moment…many times over, but I know that it’s not by our strength or power that he was saved. It was by the grace of God. It was God who placed him in a Christian foster home. It was God who placed him in our home. It was God who gave him family and extended family and a church family and friends who prayed for him. It was God who gave him a story that paralleled our story so perfectly. It was God who used trouble to lead to restoration.
“…and I will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.” -Hosea 2:15
It was God who chose James Wood.
So today, with joy and gratitude in my heart, I have to recite one of my favorite passages:
“I will show my love to the one I called Not my loved one.
I will say to those called, ‘Not my people’,
‘You are my people’;
and they will say, ‘You are my God.’