Just A Little Closer

The beautiful and terrible thing about the Lord is that He lets you choose whether or not to follow Him.

My husband and I had a long conversation with our 18-year-old son last evening about what we feel is the most essential aspect of his life. Of course, we care about his grades, which college he decides to attend, his career and companion choices, but mostly we care about his relationship with Christ. We know what we have taught him, he’s been through confirmation, he’s been involved in youth group, and he’s gone to church almost every Sunday of his life.  But, in the end, he gets to decide to follow Jesus – or not.

The conversation started innocuously enough with a discussion about symbols. Without knowing the meaning of it, my son had used a symbol in his artwork, and we were upset about it. Ignorance is no defense of the law, my husband told him. If the police pull you over and you profess ignorance of the law you broke – it doesn’t help you at all in court. You should know better. Harkening back to something I have told my children before, I asked him how people are trained to spot counterfeits.

“They study the real thing.”

“Right,” I smiled, “but how can you know what’s not of God if you don’t know what is of God?” Eyes falling, he muttered, “I hear ya.”

“When something is wrong, you need to be able to spot the signs,” my husband added.

And, it hit me! This was like the story of Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia. My son was obsessed with the books as a child and had read through them or listened to them on tape countless times.  Aslan, the great lion, had told Pole to remember the signs he gave her – to repeat them every night so that they would not be missed on their quest. At first, Pole said them every night before bed. Before long, the road became more treacherous, there were obstacles and setbacks along the way. Pole and her companion, Scrubb and even their chaperone, Puddleglum, grew weary of the journey and Pole stopped reciting the signs altogether. When they finally stumbled – literally stumbled – into the second to last sign they did not recognize it. Their focus was only on getting out of their momentary discomfort. They brushed off warning signs and raced right up to the front door of danger, missed the sign and it almost cost them their lives.  I reminded my son of the story, and for the first time, I think it hit home. He knew their story almost as well as he knew his own.

“Are you studying the right path?” I asked. “Do you know what’s real and what is counterfeit? Because, when life gets tough, and there are obstacles in your path or people trying to make you veer off – you need to really be strong about what you believe.”

Life is full of rocks and brambles, thorns, and muddy patches; but, if we remember God’s direction and keep heading toward the light, we can find a way through.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

My prayer for myself and my children is the song below – I’ve embedded links to various renditions for your listening pleasure:)

I am weak but Thou art strong
Jesus keep me from all wrong
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee
Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea
Daily walking close to Thee
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be
When my feeble life is o’er
Time for me will be no more
Guide me gently, safely o’er
To Thy kingdom’s shore, to Thy shore
Just a closer walk with Thee
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea
Daily walking close to Thee
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be
Just a Closer Walk With Thee lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group
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