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Son Asks His Father's Help to Avoid the Darkness

One weekend, author Paul Tripp gave his teenage son permission to spend the weekend at a friend's house. But during the weekend Paul received a call from the friend's mother, informing him that Paul's son was not at her home. (Her son had felt guilty about covering for Paul's son and confessed to his mom.) After Paul told his wife about their son's deception, Paul said, "Luella could feel my anger, and she said, 'I think you need to pray.' I said, 'I don't think I can pray for him right now.' She said, 'I didn't mean for you to pray for him; I think you need to pray for you.'"

Paul writes:

I went to my bedroom to pray for God's help, and it hit me that, because of his love, God had already begun a work of rescue in my son's life. God was the one who pressed in on the conscience of my son's friend, causing him to confess to his mom. God was the one who gave her the courage to make that difficult call to me. And God was the one giving me time to get a hold of myself before my son came home. Now, rather than wanting to rip into my son, I wanted to be part of what this God of grace was doing in this moment of rebellion, deception, hurt, and disappointment.

After giving his son a couple of hours to relax upon his return, Paul asked him if they could talk.

"Do you ever think about how much God loves you?" Paul asked his son.

"Sometimes," he answered.

"Do you ever think how much God's grace operates in your life every day?"

His son looked up but didn't speak.

"Do you know how much God's grace was working in your life even this weekend?"

"Who told you?" his son asked.

Paul said:

"You have lived your life in the light. You've made good choices. You've been an easy son to parent, but this weekend you took a step toward the darkness. You can live in the darkness if you want. You can learn to lie and deceive. You can use your friends as your cover … You can step over God's boundaries. Or you can determine to live in God's light. I'm pleading with you: don't live in the darkness; live in the light."

"As I turned to walk away," Paul wrote, "I heard his voice from behind me saying, 'Dad, don't go.' As I turned around, with tears in his eyes, he said, 'Dad, I want to live in the light, but it's so hard. Will you help me?'"

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