Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart (Part 4)

Yesterday I shared that I began praying for my wife when I was sixteen years old.  At that same time I began praying for my future son. I remember my prayers were for a healthy child that would grow to love the Lord and become a Christian at an early age.  As time went on I began to pray for a young man who wouldn’t make the same mistakes I had.  I prayed that he wouldn’t shipwreck his faith, abandon the church, or live a life caring only for himself.

In 1985 Christian artist Wayne Watson recorded a song that forever changed the way I prayed for my future wife and son.  The song was “Somewhere in World,” and talked about a father praying for a godly wife for his son.  As I listened to the song, my prayers for William grew to include his future wife.  Even though I was only twenty, I knew that I needed to keep praying for my son. 

In 2001 Shirley and I were told we wouldn’t be able to have children without God’s intervention. We never experienced a miscarriage or the loss of a child, but I remember hurting more that day than any other in my life. As word spread through the church, many of our friends stopped by to pray with us, cry with us, and encourage us.  My parents came over that evening and I will never forget what my mom said, “Bobby, you have been praying for your kids for over twenty years.  God knows what is best and His timing is perfect. You trust Him and everything will work out just fine.” Those words of faith continued to ring in my ears for the days, weeks, months, and even years to come. Then came June 2004 when they rang loud and clear as the nurse said to us, “Mr. and Mrs. Pittenger, you have a healthy baby boy!”  After twenty-four years, God answered my prayer.

Now over seven years later, I still find myself not only praying for my son but also thanking God for blessing me with a child.  I am so grateful for God’s wonderful gift. There are so many things I never understood about God’s love me until after William was born. I never knew watching a child grow could teach me about God’s love for His creation. I am over-joyed when he is so excited that I have come home from work.  I am broken when we’ve spent the whole day together, he looks up at me and says, “Dad, wasn’t this a great day getting to be together without any interruptions!” I am humbled when I see him trying so hard to be “just like daddy.” And I am thankful that he has a hunger to learn about Jesus and His Word.  When I think how my boy energizes my heart I wonder how my longing for a loving relationship with God affects His heart.

So, this Thanksgiving season I am thankful to Almighty God who gave to me the wonderful gift of a son.  I pray that I will be equal to the task to raise him in the ways of the Lord and that he will never turn from those ways as I once did.  I pray that the little girl who will one day become his bride will come to know Jesus and pursue Him with all her heart.