by a Pioneer in Bosnia
His voice hoarse from the unplanned singing late into last night, Adin presses through the pain to tell me all about the weekend's proceedings. No, he hasn't been part of a drunken holiday celebration, singing love songs accompanied by accordion. He has been at an annual conference for youth hosted by the church in Sarajevo. He's a really nice kid, and his older brother is an emerging leader in the church. Nadim doesn't have much to say except that it was a good time. Next stop is to drop off Adin. As I turn around the car in his driveway, he says the words I've been waiting for: "I have good news—I'm ready."
I'm not one to rush people into big decisions. Adin isn't one to rush into them either. My mind goes to our previous conversations on the subject, also in my car.
"Have you counted the costs?" I had asked during that earlier talk. He said he had, referring to all of the (somewhat legitimate) concerns his mother had flung at him concerning the rejection he might experience and disadvantages in the culture. "Yeah, but there are other costs too," I warned. "Jesus accepts sinners as we are, but we must come as repentant sinners, with a desire to change and to do things God's way and for his glory." I went on to explain, "This means things like sex outside of marriage and self-centeredness become issues which will bring both Holy Spirit conviction (the whistle-blow in your soul) and rebuke from the brothers who love you and are committed to God.”
"I will think about those things," he told me. I reminded him, "Of course what seems impossible now, is impossible now, but when have been adopted as a son and have received the Holy Spirit, you'll have the help of the Spirit and of the church—which you don't have now."
"Yeah," he said, "that's what I was thinking." That conversation was about a week or two after Adin went to church camp.
Earlier was our fall camping trip with my friend from Croatia. Not by plan, it turned out to be on the exact same weekend as last year's camping trip, and in the same place. As the three of us walked by a gazebo where we had taken refuge from the rain a year earlier, memory prompted Adin to remark, "Look there's where we sat with the candle last year and you read the Bible to me for the first time!"
"Was that the first time?" my friend asked. It had been. Adin has attended many Bible studies, church services and youth meetings since then, but that was indeed the first time we had opened the Word together.
As I complete my three-point turn in the driveway, again I am faced with the two questions, "Does he really understand the gospel and grace of God?" and "Does he really know what he's getting into?" Peace fills me, when the answer to both questions is yes. "I am so glad to hear that," I answer. "Not as much as I am, brother," comes his joyful and relieved reply. We had been looking forward to the day when we could address each other as brother. With delight I offer, "Let me pray for you, brother."
Father, I thank you so much for adopting Adin as your son. Thank you for hounding him down and not giving up on him. Thank you for what Jesus has done for him through the cross and resurrection. Thank you for all of the things you plan to do in Adin and all the good works you plan to do through him. Thank you for giving him faith. Thank you for giving your Holy Spirit. Help us to encourage one another as we try to honor you, serve you and glorify you. I am so thankful to have Adin as a brother in Christ. I know that you will complete what you have begun in him.