WHY? Why did this happen? How did this happen? Why God? Why us?
These were some of the many questions I anguished with when I found out in 2012 that my son was gay. Gut punch. I never expected to hear those words. But these were the questions with which I was wrestling. I hate wrestling. I hate uncertainty. I’m an accountant. My life is a series of balances: debits = credits. And yet here I was: totally out of balance and really feeling that angst.
Did you see that? In the early parts of our journey I was more concerned about me and not my son. Those are hard words to write. But I must be honest with me and with you. I was more concerned about me. How ultimately selfish! How would this affect me as a recently minted church elder? How can I fix this? Just make it all go away. Do I love my son? Can I love my son? I do, I think. But wow my whole world was rocked.
But then again so was his.
What I wished I’d known then that I know now is this: I must trust God with the very thing that is so precious to me, my child. I must surrender to Him the fact that this whole thing is bigger than me. It took about a year for me to get to this point. Man, I wish I had that year back. But, or maybe because of that year, I was now at a place where God could work on me, my selfishness, my heart. And He did!
I thought I knew love. I love my wife. I love my children. I love my family and friends. I can even love those who are different from me. Well, at a distance anyway. Again, being honest.
But boy howdy, God said, “Nope you know nothing Gil Vollmering about love!” Let me show you. How did Abraham feel when at the altar with Isaac? How did Jacob feel about Joseph? And God with Jesus on the cross? You never know how much you love someone until…
I can no longer hear the story of the Prodigal without identifying with the Father…and the son…and the older brother. I see me in each of them at various times in my life. I fall to my knees in tears praising God for his never-ending love and mercy, striving to be the best I can be for Him.
In my surrender, I learned to love deeper, broader, with more intensity and with much more respect for God and his love for me and my son. Actually, I’m still learning. This journey is AS IMPORTANT as the destination.
So with His help we are in a good place, loving, safe, talking about life and things eternal. We live outside of ourselves and for the sake of the world’s reconciliation to God. This is good fruit.
What I wished I known then that I know now? Hmmm. I can’t list them all. But first and foremost, I think, it’s this: God will never stop pursuing me and my family. And I will never stop pursuing Him. I’ve learned to live in and appreciate the uncertainty. As a dear friend told me early in our journey, “Just keep swimming.”
May the Peace of the Almighty God and His Spirit rest on you in a mighty way as you read this.