I just saw my daughter get baptized this past weekend. There is a sentence I never thought I would write.
This week’s article is personal…welcome.
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In 2012, I was saved. I was 42 years old. At the time, my daughter was twelve and did not believe in God. I was at least partially to blame for that because I was probably the first person that told her there was no God.
I spoke briefly of my first altar call in my article called The sinner’s prayer. I left a little meat on the bone, however, because I knew I would be writing this article this week.
I was twelve years old when I first learned what atheism was and embraced it in myself. At the age of 42, I found myself weeping uncontrollably to the pastor who had just convinced me I had been mistaken.
I told him that during his sermon, I had come to realize that I had probably been wrong about God all of my life. The worst part was, I had also taught my daughter this really wrong thing.
I explained that my daughter was (then) the age I was when I had become an atheist. I told the pastor through my tears that I had ruined my life and now I had nothing to give my daughter.
I remain convinced that this pastor didn’t even think about it. He just smiled at me and said, “you do now.”
I balled uncontrollably in my car for almost a half hour before I could drive myself home. Somehow, I needed to convince my daughter that I had been wrong.
I told her the following week during our visit that I started going to church. “It turns out,” I’d said “there is a God after all. I was just too stubborn to realize it.”
She did not find my admission of being wrong as all that astounding. She immediately added my salvation to the pile of things she assumed I was wrong about. She was unmoved. The fact that I was now a Christian only drove us further apart.
I did everything I knew how to do. I took her to church. I read to her from the Bible many times. I prayed for her. I asked others in my church to pray for her every chance I got. I introduced her to my new pastor with the hopes that he could convince her as he had convinced me.
For years I had prayed to God to save my little girl:
- Don’t save me and then not save my daughter.
- Please let her into heaven, you have room.
- Forget about me and take her.
- Please, God.
- Don’t punish her for what I taught her.
- Give me the right words to say.
- Make her believe me.
About a year ago, my prayer changed:
- Please put someone on her path that she will believe.
- It doesn’t have to be me.
- I don’t care if she believes me anymore.
- Just save her God.
- Make her believe You.
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22)
My prayer was answered. In August, my daughter gave her life to Christ. On November the 5th, 2017, at the age of 18, she was baptized.
I believe that my first prayer was a more selfish prayer.
I had prayed for God to make my daughter believe me. When I prayed for God to make her believe Him, the outcome changed.
I could not have been more excited. I bought her her own Bible and had her name embossed on the cover. I wept as I filmed her being dunked.
All of her friends from the young-adult ministry she belonged to hollered “goodbye!” as she was going under. They were celebrating the death of her old self and, of course, the birth of her new self. It was the best baptism I had ever witnessed.
My daughter and I were never very close. Her mother and I divorced when she was five and she could probably never find common ground with anyone who didn’t love her mother as much as she does. I cannot fault her for that.
Today, I have a new prayer.
My new prayer is that one day she will be able to forgive me.
When you say your prayers tonight, could you please put in a good word for my daughter and me? Please lift us up in your prayers whether you read this article this week or several years from now. It would mean a lot to me. Thanks.
While you’re at it, please join me in praising God that my daughter was saved for later!
Saved for Later is a blog for the recently – or almost – saved adult. To get more of the foundational truths that we were not taught in childhood, subscribe to this blog. Please ‘like’, comment, and share!
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.