Sometimes when it rains it pours, and sometimes the wind blows. My son Tyler is a freshman at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Over a week ago I went through the painful process of helping him move into his dorm. Both Tammy and I were dreading this experience; I was now dreading it alone. Armed with the truth that hard things are just a part of my life, I proceeded intrepidly as the day drew near. My emotions were out of my control. Tears sat on the edge of every word. I hugged Tyler as we said goodbye. I prayed over him and blessed him with the blessing of the father. I knew this moment was significant as he transitioned from dependance upon me as his source of protection to God the father. "Lord, help Tyler accept that as a man, you are his only real source of life and strength. I release him to you and your sovereign care."
There is something about being a father that I cherish and that honestly I find it difficult to surrender. It is the call of God upon my life to provide for and protect my children. It has become my instinct and my passion. The emotions I felt at releasing Tyler are not new; I have felt them at a similar moment in Joshua's life. I traced the various colored wires of this tangled emotion to a source. I felt as if I was abandoning my boy. No wonder I was having an emotional meltdown. The truth is I was not abandoning but rather attending to an important transition in a man's life. A transition from one earthly father to greater trust in his heavenly father.
One week later to the day of this right of passage, I found myself once again in the position of feeling helpless and calling upon my Lord, fearing yet more loss. Union University was hit by an unseasonal category four tornado in the early evening. The epicenter was at the dorms, where Tyler lives. You can imagine my concern, but remember I left him in the hands of a greater father.
Today I stood in the midst of the rubble gasping to believe what my eyes were seeing. The chilling cold wind punctuates this hour with another reminder of nature's groaning and life's brevity since the fall of man.
Tyler is doing well physically, a little brushed emotionally, but in general he is doing fine. Tyler was reading Proverbs sixteen on his bed in his dorm when he heard a loud distant sound. He told me that the first thought was something his mother told him often during our many Mobile storm stories. "When we are under a tornado watch, and you hear a loud noise, put on your shoes, get a flashlight and move into an inside room of the house." With her words replaying through his mind, Tyler obeyed his mother's wise counsel.
Today, Josh and I have traveled to Jackson to be with Tyler. As we take measure of the massive destruction on the campus of Union University we are stunned. How can so many students escape death in the midst of widespread destruction? The only answer is a powerful sovereign Daddy who uses good and godly mothers who teach little boys to be men. I am proud of Tyler. I am very thankful for a godly woman named Tammy who loved her children enough to prepare them to be good men. I am grateful for our sovereign father who is worthy of our praise regardless of the outcome.