Our 16-year-old son, Bobby, talked with his friend, Aaron about buying tickets to see the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Pops concert. They would be playing John Williams music, a favorite of both of theirs.
At the last minute, however, Aaron decided he would rather go to the area-wide prayer meeting for youth.
Bobby was crushed, since he had been looking forward to the concert for two months. And his friend has a driving license, so he was the transportation to the orchestra hall in Detroit, a one-hour drive from our house.
Bobby found himself in a dilemma. He could be mad at himself for not having purchased the tickets yet. If he had, Aaron would have been certain to go, having put down his $40 for a ticket. Or he could be mad at Aaron for backing out. On the other hand, he could conclude that the circumstances meant that God wanted him to go to the prayer meeting.
Then he remembered that he had one more option: dad. I heard him coming down the stairs and I was preparing my answer for the question I knew was coming.
“Would you take me to the concert, Dad?” he asked. (Actually, he pleaded.)
I'm not much of a John Williams fan. I appreciate his music when I hear it in whatever movie it was written for, but to listen to it by itself is like having Rodgers but no Hammerstein. Of course my son would disagree, and I will admit he knows music much better than his tone-deaf father does.
“Let's all three pray (my wife was present too) about it for a couple minutes,” I said. “Who knows what God may have in mind?” Of course my hope was that the Lord would indicate clearly to all of us that my son would derive great benefit from the prayer meeting.
After a few minutes of spoken prayer and then silence for listening, I said that I think Bobby is supposed to go to the concert. Two surprised faces looked at me — at the one who usually has No for an answer before a question is even asked. I had said what I did partly in the hope that I would be outvoted 2-to-1 and persuaded by them that I was wrong. But I knew I was right.
My hopes ended quickly when my wife said that she felt he should attend the concert, too. Then Bobby concurred, but said he was afraid that he didn't deserve to go because he hadn't made good use of his day as far as getting homework and chores done, and that the prayer meeting would be better for him spiritually.
“But God has given you musical ability,” Linda said, “and he wants to bless you at concerts and music events; not just at Mass or prayer meetings.”
I looked at the clock and said that we better get moving. “The concert starts in two hours.” A hurried dinner and we were off.
When the performance was over, Bobby said it was tremendous. I didn't rate it that highly, but it was better than I had expected it to be.
What is the moral of the story? Don't ever pray about something that you already have your mind made up about?
The real moral: God wants to show goodness to our children more than we do. And, in the process, he may bless us by allowing us to be a channel.
Bob Horning writes from Ann Arbor, Michigan.