Writing comes easily to me most of the time. I consider myself a writer. Words flow from my mind onto the keyboard without much brow furrowing or head scratching.
This is not one of those times.
I’m tempted to close the laptop. To quit for now and come back to this post later. But I won’t because God’s got something to say and He’s so near and… well, He’s nudging me to keep going. This one might be a struggle.
How do you corral a mind full of thoughts – dancing, whirling, waltzing thoughts – and cohesively put them into sentences? Sentences that sufficiently convey the grandeur of the ballroom and the richness of the music?
I guess you start at the beginning.
Sparkling blue eyes widened in anticipation. Childhood wonder and innocence filled his freckled face. It was a sunny summer day and this boy was excitement and enthusiasm personified. Our team of just-out-of-college ministry leaders had just finished setting up for our first backyard Bible club. Name tags were slapped onto t-shirts and plastic cups were filled with red juice. This was the first time I met Chris.
After just a couple days of conducting this backyard club I knew that this was an extraordinary nine-year-old boy. Life and boundless energy had this kid bouncing and smiling and tossing out confetti and sunshine to everyone around him. He loved to entertain and he belted out our praise songs with unadulterated zeal.
Who’s the King of the jungle? WHO WHO! Who’s the King of the sea? BUBBLE BUBBLE BUBBLE! Who’s the King of the universe and who’s the King of me?
Thankfully, I didn’t have to say goodbye to this remarkable kid on the last day of backyard Bible club. For the next couple of years I would tutor him every Wednesday and babysit every time his mom would ask. Spending so much time with him made it abundantly clear to me: Chris was gonna be something big someday. Eventually my favorite kid drifted out of my life but I never forgot about him and his boundless joy.
That was nearly twenty years ago.
Through the magic of Facebook I found “my favorite kid” again. ‘How great would it be to see him now after all these years?!’ I kept thinking. All I could surmise from Facebook was that – sure enough – he became famous in Germany as part of a boy band.
Finally this past weekend, I got to see my “little buddy” again!
Our texts on the way to Starbucks went something like this:
Me: I’m so excited I’m shaking. I’m like trying to do deep breathing and driving over curbs!
Chris: Stop texting and driving…!
I kid you not – he walked into Starbucks singing “Who’s the King of the jungle….!” I looked into the face that was still every bit as vibrant as it was twenty years before. The broad smile, the sparkling eyes.
We sat on an outdoor bench and chatted and laughed…and cried. Yeah, that was me. I cried. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate crying in front of people?
I. Hate. Crying. In. Front. Of. People. Because I am not a pretty cryer, y’all.
An old lady with her little white dog in a stroller stopped in front of us and asked, “Are you crying?” Oh DEAR. Now I had an audience. Even the little white dog raised an eyebrow, I swear.
The tears came uncontrollably because my precious friend was telling me about his last several years. As with all of us, there were ups and downs. But Chris had gone through a LOT of downs. A LOT of darkness. A LOT of pain. And I couldn’t let my mind go there. I couldn’t stand the thought of this bright-eyed boy having experienced so much distress. He was supposed to go on and live a happy-happy-joy-joy life because he was sweet, extraordinary Chris. But he hadn’t. And he shared that he is still struggling in some ways.
I love that word.
BUT – despite the darkness, despite the pain, despite the too-much-life he has lived for such a young person – this guy is FULL of His Jesus.
His name is J-E-S-U-S, JESUS! He’s the King of me. He’s the King of the universe, the jungle and the sea!
He could have given up on God. He could have taken an easy way out. He could’ve closed his laptop and not even tried. But he stood up and let God dust him off and this extraordinary boy sat in front of me now and talked about Jesus and how much he loves Him. He told me that Jesus is number one in his life. And we pounded fists and I hugged him tight and my heart rejoiced in our God! Words cannot express how proud I am of this young man.
What a BLESSING to reunite like this and pick up where we left off, and to have this very special friend back in my life to encourage and support and love for the glory of our great and faithful God!
Do you have a story? Did you come through a dark time loving and trusting God more than ever? Tell it. Because God is good all the time and your story might fill somebody’s heart with confetti and sunshine.