Typically, I don’t publish a blog on Sunday afternoon, but today is a special day. You see, tonight my baby sister will be in labor and her family could use some prayers.
No, she isn’t pregnant, but she will be in labor, and her labor will begin at 5 a.m. Eastern time, 2 a.m. Pacific time.
When she and her husband go to bed tonight, they probably will not fall asleep right away. I suspect they will pray together and then talk about their son, their one and only son, who is far away from them. They will reminisce about his childhood. They will pray for his endurance and strength. They will try to sleep.
When her alarm sounds at 5, if she is not already awake, my sister will get out of bed and recall all the sleepless nights she had when her son was a newborn. She will think of the times she had to get up in the cold and dark and rock him when he was sick. Her arms will ache with the emptiness that comes when you can’t hug someone you love. She will ask God to wrap her son securely in his arms – he will.
As she laces up her running shoes, she will be reminded of her son’s first steps and of all the times she tied his shoes and sent him out to play. She will smile as she recalls her pride in his accomplishments, both then and now. She will ask God to keep his feet secure and steady over the next three days – he will.
She will pull her jacket on and wonder if her son is too cold, or too warm. She will remember all the zippers she zipped getting him ready for school. She will ask God to protect him wherever he is, whatever the weather – he will.
And then, she will run. She is new to running, but it has become her go-to activity for thinking and praying and breathing deeply. She will look at the stars and she will talk with God. She will cry out to him. She will surrender to him. She will trust him. She will hand over her fears and her worries because she knows that her son, her one and only son, is also at this very minute doing the same thing.
And if she, her husband, and her son are in the very same throne room of God, at the same time, seeking grace and mercy in their time of need, then they are all together. They are not a continent apart, and God is in the midst of them.
Zach begins The Crucible (read about it here), tonight. I imagine that is all he is thinking about today. He will probably be in church as you are reading this. He will most likely spend the afternoon thinking about what is ahead and talking about it with his new friends. He will probably not be thinking about what his mom and dad are going through. He has a lot on his plate.
However, I suspect that Zach is not so much thinking about tomorrow at 2 a.m. As he is about Wednesday. I imagine Zach is prepared for this, and has set his face like flint on finishing. He will do whatever he has to do to drop the label ‘recruit’ and become a Marine.
We can’t do anything to help Zach through the physical and mental aspect of this ordeal, but, like his momma, we can pray. And prayer has power because the God to whom we pray is all-powerful! There is nothing too wonderful for him!
When we pray, we do go directly into the throne room of Almighty God. We are allowed in because of the blood of Jesus, who set his face like flint to endure the cross, focusing on the joy that lay beyond it, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. He kept his eyes focused on the end rather than the process of getting there.
Jesus, God’s one and only Son, accomplished for you and for me the salvation and reconciliation that allows us to come into God’s presence for grace and mercy in our time of need. We are told that we are most like Christ when we intercede for others. I think that is true. Christ continually intercedes for you and for me.
The Marines ask that we turn our porch light on to show support for our recruits during the Crucible. My light will be on, because I will be interceding for Zach.
Will you join us? Will you pray for Zach? Will you pray for all of the young men as they become Marines (the ones who stand between us and evil, the ones who fight to secure our right to vote, to go to church, to kneel during the national anthem), and for Zach’s momma as she labors on behalf of her recruit who is becoming a Marine?
If you decide to pray for Zach, and for all of our recruits, and if your porch light is on, will you post a picture of your front porch onto social media with #TheCrucible. You can post to my sister’s FaceBook (here), Zach’s (here)… or mine (here), or share this post and upload your photo along with it.
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