My son, seventeen and looking more like man than boy, swerved the family passenger van into Taco Bell’s drive-thru. As the van idled, he glanced down at his Civil Air Patrol uniform and with pride relished his promotion; he’d lead the young band of brothers from now on.
The cars ahead of him disappeared around the corner, and he applied gentle pressure to the gas pedal. Every Monday night he stopped in Bossier City to buy fast food at this restaurant. Nothing out of the ordinary. But as he approached the microphone, the van’s headlights exposed a gang beating a man from behind the building next door.
My son whipped the van forward, jolted to a stop near the restaurant door, slid out, and stopped a patron as she was going inside.
“Ma’am, call 911!”
He jumped back into the van and steered it forward until the headlights spotlighted the group—some twenty-five or thirty feet away. Grabbing a baseball bat from the backseat, he got out of the van, rushed into the stream of high beams (They’d make him look bigger than life, right?), and elevated the bat to a threatening angle.
“Let him go!”
By this time the man being beaten could no longer stand. Two of the gang members held him by the arms while the others plunged fists into his gut and the sides of his head. As though in slow motion, they shifted to glare at my son. One of them broke away from the group and pulled out a switch blade. The click of the knife shooting outward seemed magnified over all the noises of the city.
Up until this moment pure adrenaline had motivated my boy to action. Now he stood exposed by the headlights and feeling foolish. He might have looked like a brave airman in uniform, but now his knees knocked and his hands quivered.
The gang member with the switchblade moved closer. Sweat broke across my son’s brow, and I imagine a prayer or two dispatched heavenward.
Lights and sirens interrupted. The gang fled, leaving the beaten man to slide into a heap on the pavement. My son sprinted to his side, and his training took over until the professionals arrived.
I wanted to do some beating of my own. “You could have been killed! You’re seventeen, for goodness sakes. What in this world were you thinking?”
Clearly, he hadn’t been. My pointer fingers massaged my temples, and I mentally counted to ten. This boy? Too many movies. His father? Relishing every detail of the event way too much. Men and boys.
Every time I turned around my son was running into situations like this one. Most recently, he’d plunged a pitchfork into the leg of a menacing intruder causing the man to drop his weapon and flee on foot. My son? Chased him from the barn and through the woods to his get-away car. What?
As this son grew up, nothing changed. Created to be wild at heart, it seemed he’d always arrive on scene ready and at those “just right” moments. I’ve gone my whole life and never happened on a car accident, but it became ordinary for my son to be the one to pull a man from the rubble of a burning semi-truck or to bust a window out of a wrecked car, wrap a baby in a blanket, and lift her to safety.
I wonder… How many of us are ready at those “just right” moments when God wants to use us? Is our excuse youth? Timidity? Unworthiness? Insecurity? Lack of knowledge?
I’m not an advocate of young people placing their lives in danger by any stretch of the imagination, but how many adults sit our whole lives and never take risks? To move forward with what God has purposed for us is a thrilling adventure. My twenty-eight-year-old daughter calls this action wearing her bravery.
Talk about adrenaline! Every time we step out and obey the Lord in our everyday lives, there’s an explosive energy generated on the inside of us—in our Spirit man—and it ignites us for the next time. And, the next…
To lead a life in spontaneous action to the moving of the Holy Spirit is like none other.
Believer, take those God-whispered risks. They’re called actions of faith. In doing them, you may be stretched. You may face dangers—some real and some imagined—but OH the FULFILLMENT and LIFE you’ll experience.
Listen for His Whispers