God consistently asks His people to remember Him. He told the Israelites to put up stones to remember where they walked across the Jordan. (Joshua 4:1-7) He tells us to take the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of what He did on the cross. (Luke 22: 14-23) He asks us multiple times in the Psalms to remember who He is and all He’s done. (Psalm 77) I think part of the reason He tells us to do this is because, in His omniscient ways, He knows it is easier for us to forget than it is to remember.
I didn’t have to worry about Wesley’s non-believing father for the first 5 years of Wesley’s life. We came to our own church, had our days at home and didn’t have to worry much about his father’s cult background. As of January 2016, that all changed. Wes’s dad began taking Wes to all of his cult meetings and to do door-to-door false preaching. It shatters my heart every time.
Recently, as I drop Wesley off and I leave to go home, I sense one overarching thought that swarms heavily over the feelings of panic, dread and tearful rage, “Remember me, Lauren. Remember all I have done before this day. Remember who I AM.”
One such moment, when Wesley was very young, has been divinely etched into my memory. This is one memory that I think back to as I drive away from the kingdom hall.
When Wes was about 6 months old, he hated being in the car. He would cry non-stop. I didn’t stress about it too much because we didn’t drive to many far away places as a young baby, though I did take a few trips back home to College Station to visit my parents. On one particular trip, he began crying before I even had him buckled in. I was thinking, “Seriously dude? We have 3 hours ahead of us. You’re gonna have to get it together.” Ummmm. He was 6 months old. I must have still been a bit delirious from all the sleepless nights to think he would understand me.
I began listening to some of my favorite Christian music hoping to at least drown out the sobbing for a short time. For roughly 30 minutes, not a single thing worked. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the car with a screaming kid, but 30 minutes can seem like an eternity. One trip prior to this one, he cried the entire 3 hours, so I was already beginning to freak out when we hit the 30-minute mark. I knew I could not do another 3 hours like that.
The howling had begun to grate on every nerve in my body. I was trapped. He was trapped. He was screaming. And I was about to be screaming too. Then a new song came on, one with an African beat by Selah and mysteriously, Wes quieted down. While it was strangely peculiar, I was breathing deep and hopeful sighs of relief. I thought, “Oh my goodness. Is it over? Are we going to have a nice ride now?”
But no, as soon as the song was over, the roaring began again. “Great. You obviously don’t know how to worship the Lord little man. COME ON!” Then I thought, “Hmmmm, I wonder if…No, surely not. It couldn’t be that easy.” I was up for trying anything at this point, so in desperate optimism, I played that same song again. It was a God-given MIRACLE, people. Like, seriously a dream. It worked! As soon as that song began, he went silent. I could not believe it.
You can probably guess what I did next. Yes, yes I did. For the full 3 hours, we listened to that one song on repeat, again yes, that one song on repeat, all the way to College Station. And guess what? I didn’t hear a peep out of him for the rest of the way. You do what you must do when you need a little peace and quiet.
I was talking to my best friend, Beth, on the phone several days later laughing about how high maintenance my kid was for needing to have this one song played so that he would relax. We laughed together and then it was her that said, “Isn’t that interesting?” I said, “What do you mean?” She responded, “The song…that quieted him down.”
As I hung up the phone, for the first time, I thought more seriously about it. And then this surprising sense of God’s hand was exposed. I hadn’t seen it before Beth mentioned it.
The only song that would soothe my 6-month-old baby.
An old sacred hymn.
“I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”
I will remember this. I will always remember this. God showed His hand during that 3-hour car ride. He was writing divine lyrics onto my child’s 6-month-old heart. He was transcribing His plan into my child’s mind and spirit through the melody and stanzas of a song written 150 years ago. I will remember that He is the great I AM.