Chapter 3: Isaac and John

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the   grace of God was on him.  John 2:40

Isaac

Isaac and John flourished in their respective foster care environments. They both were handsome and had winning personalities. Soon Isaac was adopted by Marvin and Deena who had longed for a child of their own. Isaac lived in Lymon county and John in Agora county about fifty miles away. Isaac’s parents were ministers of the largest church in Lymon county, where Isaac spent much time going to church. The church also had a school, so Isaac never went to public school. God was a part of his life. His parents genuinely loved the Lord and tried to raise Isaac up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Yet Isaac was rebellious. He had always been rebellious. After he grew into puberty he told his parents that did not believe any of that God stuff, and that he was tired of going to Christian school. If God had loved him so much he would not have made him an orphan. If he could be filled with the Holy Spirit, the why did he feel like a  part of him was missing? If his parents gave him a loving home, then why did he feel like he had another home somewhere; that there was something that he  should be doing, but he didn’t know what it was?  After much prayer and many arguments, Isaac’s parents allowed him to go to public high school, hoping that he could find the answers to some of his questions. Things went well for two years. Isaac did just as he promised. He went to class, got good grades, and dutifully participated in church youth activities. During his senior year Isaac had met “the girl.”  She was in his class and was everything he had imagined; beautiful, smart and popular. She seemed like the part of him that he had been missing. While the fact that she did not attend church bothered his parents, Isaac could not care less. After all, he never did believe all of that God and Jesus stuff. Being her boyfriend got Isaac access to places that he never went before. What great parties he now went to. Sometimes he went after church activities, sometimes he lied about his whereabouts, and other times he didn’t bother to tell his parents where he was going at all.

Isaac hated the taste of alcohol the first time he tried it, but someone convinced him to try a Margarita, and he was hooked. At first he just enjoyed a few  drinks, but as his friends drank more, so did he. He enjoyed being drunk. With his inhibitions gone, he could dance, and say whatever he wanted to without any thought.  In fact, he would do almost anything once he had a few drinks. When some of his friends suggested that they rob a liquor store, Isaac went right along with them, because, well, he was invincible. It never occurred to Isaac that anyone would get hurt, or that he would get caught, but very quickly things went bad, very, very, bad.

When Isaac and his friends walked into the Ace liquor store they had a plan. Jason would distract the cashier while Mark stole the beer and wine. Isaac was to drive the get away car. Things were going as planned when the owner, who was watching everything on the security camera in the office, came out and  confronted the boys with a taser. When Mark saw Jason fall, he took out a gun and shot the owner in the stomach and ran to the car. As Isaac put the car into  gear, suddenly they were surrounded by police cars. During the confrontation  between the owner and Mark, the cashier had activated the silent alarm which  called the police. Jason, Mark, and Isaac were all arrested for armed robbery and attempted murder.

Isaac’s parents were devastated, but decided to practice tough love. Since Isaac was eighteen, and he knew right from wrong, they told him that he would have to get a public defender. Luckily Isaac was only charged with attempted robbery so his public defender told him to plead guilty, which he did. Isaac was sentenced to five years in prison. Isaac went to prison a bitter and angry young man. He could not understand why his parents didn’t pay for an attorney. He was sure that he could have gotten off. Instead, his parents said life is about choices and he was responsible for the choices he made. They would visit him, and send money occasionally, but he had to pay the consequences. His parents told him that was God’s way. Isaac thought that God was just a story, and if he existed he certainly did not care about him. Isaac settled in to do his time, alone, mad at himself, mad at his parents, and most of all, mad at God.

John

John was alone. Despite his bubbly personality and good looks, no one ever adopted John. He stayed in the children’s shelter for nearly two years before he was placed in a foster home. There were eight other children in a home that was  little better than the shelter. In fact five months after he was placed there,  a child services worker paid a surprise visit and was appalled at what he saw.  John and the rest of the children were removed at once. John spent the next  several years in the foster care system. He always felt that a piece of him was  missing.  He was always looking for a home. It was always there, and why not, he had no family and no home. Yet he always felt that he had a purpose. He always believed that he had been spared the fate of his parents for a reason. When John was fifteen he was placed in yet another foster home. He arrived with much trepidation. He wondered how long it would be before his foster parents got a divorce, or died, tried to molest him, or got caught doing drugs. He wondered if he would get along with his foster siblings or would it be a constant fight for privacy and security. He knew that there was something out there protecting him, but it was still hard to be so alone.

MaMay’s (actually her name was MaryJean, but everyone called her MaMay) and Jim’s home was different. They only took three children at a time, and only took those who had been bounced around in the foster care system. MaMay said that three was the number of the Trinity (whatever that is) and that everyone deserved to go into life knowing what it was like to be a part of a family.. MaMay and Jim didn’t have many rules: Go to school every day, do the best you can in each class, learn a skill, be kind to each other, go to church every Sunday and youth group on Friday. John had never really been to church and had no idea what a youth group was, but he was glad to be in a home, so he went along with the program. The first night he was there MaMay read Psalm 133 from the Bible. It talked about how good it was for people to get along. Then she read from a chapter called Romans that said that God is the father that will never leave or forsake him. He had seen bibles all of his life. Every home he had lived in had one, but no one ever opened them. He looked at one once but it had so many thee’s and thou’s and didst’s that he thought it was a foreign language. Since he was never any good at foreign languages so he never looked again. Wow, John thought, there is a book that says people should get along, and that everyone has a father who loves him. He felt at home for the first time in his life.

Church was not like anything that John had ever experienced. He had seen church on TV, but had quickly passed the women with the pink hair or the yelling preacher, but this was different. There were some people that he had seen in school and in the community. Some were singing, and those with white gloves directed people to seats. Jim was what was called a Deacon, so he stood in the front of the church in front of baskets that people dropped money and envelopes into. Some people sat quietly, and some danced. They all closed their eyes and bowed their heads while a lady in the front talked. She asked God to forgive their sins, and bless their families. She asked for healing of the sick and prosperity for all. She asked for peace and understanding, and a lot of other stuff, and then she ended by thanking Jesus for hearing their prayers. “So that’s what she was doing. She was praying.”  Next a man came and talked to the people. Although John did not understand all of it, he heard that people could have a special relationship with the God who created them through his son. After the service John asked Jim what all of this meant.  Jim said, “My son, God knows all the stars in the heaven, all the family of the earth He knows. Even the thoughts you think, He knows. Even the time you arrive on earth to the time you leave earth, He knows.  When you gave your life back to God, John you became part of the household of God.  It is important for you to know who your Father is and He loves you, and has an assignment for you that you have been created for. John went away thinking what could God want from him?”

John started to attend the youth activities with his foster brothers, and found that he actually enjoyed it. He made new friends, and found out that one of the  youth leaders was one of Jim and MaMay’s past foster children. After  participating for about a year, John gave his life to Jesus. Although John  believed that he would live in the home of Jim and MaMay until he aged out of  the foster care system, there was a feeling that there was a piece of him  missing. He knew that his foster parents loved him and so did God. He felt  filled with the Holy Spirit, but he still longed for something, he just didn’t  know what. One thing he did know was that he wanted to serve God for a living.  During his senior year in high school he told his foster parents that he felt  called to ministry, and that he wanted to minister to the lost and alone. Jim  and MaMay took his call to their church, and everyone was excited. It had been  many years since this church had someone seriously interested in the ministry.  The entire church got together and sponsored John to go to the denominational  seminary in the state capital. John believed that God truly had favor on this  “miracle” baby.

Published on September 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

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