‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares The Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.’
This is the scripture I have written in almost every single one of my children’s cards for as long as I can remember, knowing it to be true and believing every word of it with all of my heart. But, I haven’t been able to write those words for any of the occasions since the awful day that our son left this earth. Not only can’t I write them, but at times, even hearing them can be a struggle. I saw so much for Christiano, and I told him often. Often I would say things like ‘ you are going to do great things,’ or ‘you are a world changer.’ And, I fully believed it. It wasn’t just lip service, but vivid pictures in my mind of my boy changing the world.
Tomorrow will be one year since my son walked across Pierce Memorial Field to receive his High School Diploma. We were so proud of him. Chris and I both dropped out of high school, and so did all four of our parents. Christiano had beaten odds, broken cycles and annihilated statistics. We always knew that he would go far in life; that he was special and way above average. His eyes bluer than blue, his height taller than tall, his intelligence higher than high, his sense of humor funnier than funny, and his heart bigger than big. He truly was larger than life, and not just because he was 6′ 9″.
One of the last phone calls that we shared lasted about an hour and a half. It was an emotional conversation that touched on so many different subjects. Christiano was struggling with the meaning of life. We talked about suffering and why there was so much pain in this world. Christiano didn’t understand why people had to suffer and wondered why God wouldn’t just intervene and cause everyone to do good to one another. This led to talk about our free will and evil in the world. He didn’t like for bad things to happen to anyone, but especially ‘good’ people. I wish I had more answers for him that day. All I’ve ever done is point my children to God, and this time wasn’t any different. I encouraged him to ask God to show himself to him and to give him understanding. He wanted so badly to understand the things of God. I told him that day on the phone that God was going to reveal Himself and it was going to be soon; that his intellectual mind was a gift and he would do great things with it; that I saw him helping many people and leading other to the knowledge of God. And, I believed all of it with all of my heart.
And, I still do.
Later that night, after thinking about our conversation all day long, I sent him a text with these verses in it.
Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you;
collect my counsels and guard them with your life.
Tune your ears to the world of Wisdom;
set your heart on a life of Understanding.
That’s right—if you make Insight your priority,
and won’t take no for an answer,
Searching for it like a prospector panning for gold,
like an adventurer on a treasure hunt,
Believe me, before you know it Fear-of-God will be yours;
you’ll have come upon the Knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:1-5
He responded, ‘Wow. This applies to me so much.’
I do believe that Christiano has found the answers he had been in search of, and, although I struggle with the outcome, God’s promise of his future and hope have been fulfilled.But, boy did I see it differently. I saw him living a long life here on this earth and sharing all of his findings with me. I guess I saw what every mother sees for her child, and it is so hard for me to give that up. But, as I type this, and I am reminded by the words written in my heart, I know that I don’t have to. God has faithfully brought back to my remembrance these words out of His Holy Book…
‘That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.’
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
And, I am renewed once again by the God who understands what it is like to lose a son. Even Jesus wished for another plan, but thankfully God didn’t change His mind. Because, He knew that his plan was far greater. And, as much as I liked the look of my plan for Christiano better, God knew of a plan that would last forever; a plan bigger than us and larger than this life; a plan far beyond anything we can see; a plan that has a hope and a future far greater than any plan man can see.