“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
My son sometimes talks about the “college countdown” where he tells me how many years are left before he goes off to college. According to Nick, he has 5 ½ years to go. He reminded me of this recently when I dropped him off at middle school. As I drove away, I felt a pang in my heart so I talked with the Lord about how I felt about my only child’s needing me less as he gets older. I told the Lord that it makes me sad thinking about not being current with Nick or having as much time to make memories with him. I asked Him to help me accept the inevitable with grace and less discomfort. Then I went about my usual time of prayer in the car before I arrived at the office.
As I was lying in bed that night, I thought of what I would say to Nick when I dropped him off at college, and the first thing that came to my mind was to tell him to not get into trouble. Within seconds, the final words of Jesus came to mind, and I was gripped with the difference between His last words to His children compared to what I imagined my last words might be to my son when he enters his adult world without me. By contrast, the Lord’s famous last words were not laced with “don’t be naughty.” Instead, His were laced with purpose, infused with hope and confident in the disciples’ ability to succeed, not with chastisement.
I’ve heard Matthew 28:19-20 probably a thousand times, but I was so glad the Lord gave me a new persepective on it. Christ’s final words were not just about discipling, but they were loaded with faith, hope and love. Jesus had said that unless He left, the Helper wouldn’t come (John 16:7). If it were up to me, I would not have chosen for Jesus to ever leave. But separation was the Father’s plan for His Son and for the Holy Spirit in order to build His kingdom most gloriously.
The Lord had answered my prayer from earlier in the day. I needed comfort from Him to appreciate the imminent separation between my son and me. He showed me through these famous last words that Jesus separated Himself from the disciples, just like Nick and I will separate. Like the Helper doing His work in the disciples, I need to be removed in certain areas of my son’s life for Him to accomplish His will in Nick’s life most gloriously. He also reassured me that He will accomplish what He pleases in my son’s life, far better than I ever could imagine. It struck me that God, in what appears to be inopportune times like lying awake at 2 in the morning, sometimes answers us profoundly. As I step aside for the Lord to take care of my beloved son, His promise to gently guide those who have young rings true in the deepest parts of my heart (Isaiah 40:11).
Submitted by Lindsey Hulstrom