But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall… And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers. ~Malachi 4:2, 6a
The week before the call, Joseph took Asher for a weekend trip on his motorcycle. The idea was to provide Asher with some one-on-one time with his daddy. Admittedly, Asher’s behavior did nothing to earn the privilege. Joseph even had to pray through no small amount of bitterness at the thought of rewarding Asher with the trip in light of his recent conduct. But in the end, we somehow saw this need to lavish upon Asher an unconditional love that did not rely upon anything except the God-given relationship of a father to his son.
The two drove for two days into beautiful country. They shared meals, conversations, laughter, and a much-needed time of connection. When Joseph returned, he genuinely felt good about the decision to take his oldest son. We hoped and prayed that the trip was the beginning of a turning point for our troubled boy. Unfortunately, the events of the following week, and that next weekend’s disclosure of sexual abuse, clearly showed how deep were Asher’s struggles.
The timing of that weekend created the juxtaposition that has come to define our lives. Namely, our son’s headlong plunge into a darkness we cannot begin to fully imagine while we (seemingly) helplessly try to fix the situation with band-aids of compassion, grace, and unconditional love.
But Asher is not our only son.
This weekend, Joseph is away with Nathan on a motorcycle trip.
The time is bittersweet. The memories of times spent with Asher are always close to our hearts. Joseph’s mind can’t help but recall that weekend spent in desperation with Asher. But in God’s sweetness, he is now accumulating new memories. Ones that are precious and untainted by deception and manipulation. He is healing through the ongoing connection he has with Nathan.
And more importantly, Nathan is learning what it means to be a healthy man. For years, his desire to be accepted by his older brother drove him to please the perversions of a manipulative, broken abuser. One of our primary goals with this growing boy is being intentional in redirecting Nathan’s focus from Asher to his daddy.
We are trusting God to turn hearts and miraculously heal.