Chapter 3 of the Return of the Prodigal Foster Son
Twenty five years ago I became Robert’s CASA – Court Appointed Special Advocate to be Robert’s voice in court. He was a ward of the state who had been all but abandoned by his biological family. That was for the best as the rights of his parents were terminated for severely abusing the boy in every imaginable way. Robert was with me from the age of 16 until 21. My only regret throughout those tumultuous years is that I moved heaven and earth for him to get his driver’s license. I realized all too late after he successfully held a valid driver’s license, he did not have the ability or reaction time to drive safely and we had three wrecked vehicles to show for it. He tested at borderline mental retardation and he lived in a mental hospital when I first met him. I did not think these facts should stand in the way of his dream and neither did he. When Robert was emancipated at age 21, he chose the way of the world instead of a protected life with me.
Fast forward 20 years. I have learned that my son drives a big rig across the country every day. This in and of itself is a miracle on every level. I learned he has been trying to find me for many years. Little did he know I was right behind him when he moved from Indiana to Florida. Thanks to Facebook and a kind soul who helped him learn to use it, we reconnected. But God was busy orchestrating this reunion and answering prayers throughout the last 20 years.
Robert’s abilities to drive a tractor trailer, obtain his CDL and navigate the entire country meant that God had been at work in miraculous ways. There was no other explanation. But who was praying for Robert to accomplish such a transformation? It grieved me that I had not been praying. From the sound of the events of the last fifteen years, he had no support from his biological family as that story was still very bad news.
Delays and Detours
After the most bizarre and continuing delays and detours which kept Robert from coming home, it hit me that the Enemy was using every ruse possible to derail this reunion. Time to pray. But first I needed to share the gospel with Robert. To my utter surprise, Robert had hung with some Christians and learned about Jesus. That was it! He believed in God but the rest of that “religious stuff” turned him off.
And then it became very clear, Jesus had taken Robert under his wing. He restored Robert’s brain function and transformed him into a contributing member of society. “Mom, I no longer need that disability check. I have proven to the state I can support myself as a truck driver and I convinced them they did not need to send me that money any longer.” Tears are running down my face as I see the innocence and pride in his statement.
God Can Do Anything You Know…
My first prayers were in humble thanks to God for taking this boy and protecting him. “God can do anything you know–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Eph 3:20 MSG
Then I reflected on the prayers I had been praying for the last 20 years. My first husband Paul was Robert’s finest role model. However, my husband left me when Robert was 20. It broke my heart when Robert recently told me he blamed himself for this break up. He had blown up every family he had ever been placed with and he thought he was to blame in our family. While this was one of the most devastating events in my life, it had nothing to do with Robert and it did allow me the opportunity to become Robert’s guardian and Robert lived with me full time as a result of my husband’s leaving.
Be Very Careful What You Pray For
What I had most prayed to God about was for someone to share life with. I did not particularly want a husband though. I had a significant amount of bad marriage experience to last a lifetime and had no interest in another broken heart. I do love my life and solitude and have no real desire to share my space with another person. I did want to serve a vital purpose in someone’s life. I get tired of going everywhere alone. I could not imagine what God could come up with to satisfy these desires of the heart. I remembered once telling God that maybe he should send me a truck driver and then I listed all the benefits of that sort of relationship….Please people, be very careful what you talk to God about. We do know God has a sense of humor but REALLY. He just filled the desires of my heart. He sent me a son. He sent me a truck driver. I am vital in this kid’s life and I know I am mother material because I would once again move heaven and earth for him, except I have retired from all that and now I just pray for God to do it.
After Robert’s admission that he belonged to the King, I prayed in earnest. My next prayers were to cast out demons. We can do that you know. Jesus gave us the authority. It was not reserved for the first 12 apostles. I am an apostle/disciple too. His power works through us.
Prayers to Cast Out The Enemy
“Father, I pray for your protection of Robert. I command in the name of Jesus that Satan and his minions hold no place in Robert’s life. I pray for you Lord to raise your voice and thunder hailstones and coals of fire against those who are against us. Protect Robert with the dew of heaven and send the rain of your Holy Spirit. Let the heavens shout praise for the mighty wonders you are about to display when your power is shown.” Through tears I prayed for Robert’s safety and I gave praise for God’s protection. The next time I heard from Robert I learned he had fallen into a deep sleep which coincided with my prayers. He must have been wiped out from having the great weight of having the enemy removed.
Son Follows Mother
While re-reading the story I had written on the events of Sunday, I gasped when I saw my miscalculation. Both of us were so stressed over all the devilish deeds of trucking company which was derailing the reunion that we both were careless in recalculating his log. When Robert had to restart his 34 hour restart for the second time, I was helping him determine when he could start to drive again. I was off by a PM! He should have started at 8 AM and I told him 8 PM. He had already missed our meeting by three days and now I was going to be the cause of him missing his delivery. I texted him to alert him and I asked how we both could have missed this. He sent a simple reply “I don’t know. Son follows Mother LOL.” With no help from me, he was back on the road.
Prayers for Safety
Robert had been pushed beyond coping. We agreed he needed to stop and regroup. It was then I prayed with him over the phone. “Father, I ask your special blessing on Robert. You know this is an enemy attack and you have the power to stop it. Please bring his blood pressure down, please bring calm to a very angry situation. Thank you Lord for protecting Robert all these years, for restoring his brain function, for giving him the ability to drive safely and navigate his way. Thank you for bringing us back together again and for answering my prayers. Thank you to the people who were willing to share Jesus with Robert as I know this enabled your care of Robert the very minute he accepted you as Lord. Dear God, thank you for restoring Robert to be a bright contributing member of this world. Thank you that he can work for a living and make good on his obligations. Keep him safe in his travels and clear the way for the trucking company to make right their foul deeds and to pay Robert for what is owed. In Jesus’ name we pray these things. Amen.” Robert was able to sleep for a few hours and then he got up with a clear head and drove toward the delivery point.
Prayers for Brakes in the Mountains
He was going to make a quick run to the Tennessee/Georgia line and be back in time for the weekend. Nothing but nothing was going to get in the way. But wait, I am now an expert in logistics. Everything goes wrong and absolutely nothing goes right. I was at our connection group on Wednesday. We are in deep prayer and I am getting desperate texts from my sister that they were taking my our mom to the ER with dangerously high blood pressure. On the way to the hospital, I call Robert and he tells me he is having a slight delay. A part off the air brakes blew and he had nothing but his shifting to slow him down. The trucking company told him he could drive home with it like it was. This kid knows when to dig in his heals. He was prepared to leave the truck in Tennessee and hitch a ride home. He won and the truck was repaired. In the course of the inspection, Robert learns all the brake drums are within millimeters of having the truck shut down and DOT was called. I ask him where in Tennessee he is and he is three mountain ranges from home. I know Mont Eagle all too well. He says “mom, I did not want to tell you and worry you, but I know by now that I need to tell you everything.” Damn straight, Son. Then he goes on to tell me all about his emergency braking procedures. When we got to the point of how he could “dynamite the brakes” I decided it was less stressful to face the emergency room of the hospital so I told him I would pray for safe passage through the mountains with little to no brakes.
Prayers for a New Job
And the prayers began again. “Lord, will you please get this kid home. Will you please make the brakes work. Will you please let him wait until the light of day so that if he has to shoot up the runaway truck lane, he can at least find it and not fall off the side of the mountain.” I have driven this route a million times in a moving truck with a car in tow, with a helicopter in tow and I have smelled the burning of many semi-truck brakes as they were failing. I had caught a 10 minute glimpse of this decrepit truck when Robert found himself unexpectedly passing through Indianapolis. I know I would not ride in it with him. “And God will you please find him a decent company to work for that has a safe truck.” So throughout the night my prayers alternated between my son and my mom.
As aggravated as I was about the events of the past 12 days, I knew I had to keep putting the entire situation in God’s hands. Robert needed to be encouraged to do the right thing. As much as the trucking company was a liar and a cheat, we are working not for them but for the King. This is a fallen world we live in where things are generally unfair. We have the promise of eternity where the rule of Jesus will restore right to a very wrong world.
Passing on 20 Years of Lessons Learned
My second chance with Robert was a time to apply all I had learned in 20 years to help him for his final days on earth. Do what is right and embrace the power of God through the Holy Spirit that lives within us. Trust God for the final judgement leaving retaliation and retribution in His hands. Knowing things will never be right until Christ returns, take each day and live it the best we can, leaning on each other and learning of all the promises God makes.
This kid reminds me daily what he learned from us in those precious few years. Now I have the glorious opportunity to share with him all I have learned from the Great Teacher, the Wonderful Counselor the Mighty God. What a privilege.
Polly Riddell writing as G. Polly Jordan is a storyteller connecting people and the stories they tell.
Twenty years before this series was written I took Robert in and taught him to drive and made all his dreams come true. He is the cause of my gray hair and he also was on the scene throughout both of my divorces, hmm.
He resurfaced twenty years later to give me a glimpse of the impact we had. It was a lot of impact.