Have you seen the movie How to Train a Dragon. Well, we took Ty to see it a couple of months ago, and he loved it. He's always had an affinity for dragons.
Last week, on a trip down the clearance aisle at Wal-Mart Ty spotted a large stuffed dragon from the movie. This particular dragon was called a Nightmare. He just had to have it, and in a weak moment, I gave in and bought it for him. He's carried that thing around faithfully for a week now, taking it everywhere from the grocery store to Sunday School. And of course he has to sleep with it every night.
Now that you have some background information, here's the meat of the story...
Friday night, when his Daddy was tucking him into bed, Ty prayed, as he usually does, that Tim, Lucy, and I would not have bad dreams. Then he added that he didn't need God to help him, because he had the Nightmare to keep his bad dreams away. Do you see the dilemma here? Daddy gently, but firmly explained to Ty the problem. Ty was essentially using the dragon to replace God. And when it comes right down to it, it was idolatry, plain and simple - trusting in the dragon instead of in God. Ty was upset by his mistake, but he wasn't quite sure what to do about it. Tim suggested that he ask for forgiveness, but Ty admitted that he couldn't make up his mind whether or not to do that.
Let me just say here that it is not fun to watch your child struggling with the devil. That's what it was. Satan was fighting tooth and nail to try to keep Ty from trusting God. But Tim and I were praying. Praying that God would burden Ty so much that he wouldn't be able to shake it. And burden him He did! He wrestled with it all night and the next day.
Late Saturday night I could tell something was on Ty's mind. I was pretty sure I knew what it was, but I wanted to hear it from Ty. He finally told me he was feeling bad about the events of the previous night. I explained to him that he was hearing the Holy Spirit talking to his heart. He was showing Ty the sin in his life and "knocking" on the door to Ty's heart. That satisfied him for a few minutes, but in a little while he came back to me saying the same thing. This time we prayed that God would show Ty what he ought to do, and that He would give Ty the courage to do it. A third time, Ty told me he just couldn't stop thinking about what he had said to God. (By the way, this story sort of reminds me of Samuel hearing God call him over and over in the middle of the night.) Then we pulled out the Bible and read some Scriptures in Romans. "Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead....." I asked Ty if he thought he should do this. He said, "Yes."
So we prayed, and Wham-o! Jesus came in!!! Just like that. Just that fast. Talk about seeing a weight lifted. That was one relieved little boy. Remember what it was like to have that burden removed?
Ty immediately wanted to call everyone he knew to tell them that he had asked Jesus into his heart. But since it was 11 PM I convinced him that he probably should wait until morning. Then Ty got out some paper and drew pictures of his salvation experience. One was a picture of Jesus inside Ty's heart, and another was a picture of Jesus working on Ty's heart, much like a wood carver would work with a piece of wood. Great analogy Ty!
Happy Re-Birthday little Buddy!