It was late Sunday afternoon when my husband drove back to his job site located three hours away. After my husband’s temporary placement in Florida, his employer moved him back to California. Unfortunately, his new job site was still too far from home to commute each day. As a result, he only commuted home and stayed for the weekend.
After a few months of saying goodbye to his father every Sunday, the distance became too much. My young son had held in his feelings as long as he could. One Sunday, as he said “Goodbye” to his father, he began to cry. Because it was raining, my husband had decided to begin his long commute a little earlier than normal. My son had been invited to a birthday party which was scheduled soon after we said “Goodbye.” So, in my car, my son and I followed my husband’s truck towards the freeway.
As we followed my husband’s truck, my son continued to cry for his father. It broke my heart. I tried to make him laugh but my humor only distracted him for a minute or two before he resumed crying.I prayed out loud, “Dear Lord, your child needs you right now. Can you please let him know You are with him and will never leave him? Can You please let him feel Your arms around him? In Your precious name, Amen.” Through his tears, my six-year-old son said, “It’s not working, I can’t feel Him.” I told him sometimes God’s presence feels like goose bumps or a sweet feeling, or the warm touch of others. I told him to wait on the Lord. We had two more freeway exits before arriving at the mall. I was curious when my husband exited the freeway right in front of us. He drove to the mall and parked near our car. He walked over to my son and said, “I don’t care when I get to the hotel. You are more important than my job.” He then reached out his hand and pulled my son to his side to hug him.
My son looked at me and smiled. I knew what my son was thinking, “How did he know?” When we entered the party, my shy son felt intimidated by the new environment. The father of the child who was celebrating her birthday walked over to greet us. I knew that the child’s father suffered from intense back pain. Yet, he immediately got down on one knee, spread his hands wide and offered my son a hug. My husband was standing there to see the hug. By now, I couldn’t help but tell the girl’s father and my husband about the prayer I had just prayed in the car a few minutes earlier.
Eventually, it was time to leave the party. I asked my son if he needed to use the restroom before we drove back home. He said, “Yes.” The nearest boy’s bathroom was located in a large department store next to the party. As I walked my son to the restroom, we saw a man dressed as Santa Claus. I told my son I was going to say “Hi” to Santa. My son asked, “Why, isn’t he just a man?” I knew that my son no longer believed in Santa Claus. Still, I felt compelled to go over to him and greet him. I shook Santa’s hand and said, “Hi Santa.” My son followed me and reached out his hand to shake Santa’s hand. Santa, instead, knelt on the floor, on both knees and stretched his arms out wide. My son and I knew that God heard our simple prayer on the way to the party that day and that He was with us. In less than an hour and a half, God had wrapped His arms around my son three times.