The days of Little Bear and dump trucks, Thomas the Tank Engine and ornithological obsession seem to belong to a distant past. But as I scroll through the pictures, I can see the becoming that God was working in you through the years.
Where you once lined up matchbox cars and trains, where you once pored over recycling brochures and animal encyclopedias, where you once organized your friends and family according to their Thomas the Tank Engine names (you were Rusty, I was James), I now see a new creativity, a new appreciation for order and design, a reaching for faithfulness and goodness.
I see it in your love for music, your ability to recall sports statistics, your positive work ethic, your sensitivity toward others, and in your drive to further your education. I see it in your devotion to friends and family, and most of all I see it in the way the Lord is continuing to call you to Himself.
This morning I was reading I Chronicles 28, and I kept thinking about you. King David had prepared everything that was needed for the building of the temple of the Lord. However, he would not be the one to actually build it. That honor was given to his son, Solomon.
On the cusp of this mission, King David gives a charge to his son:
Serve [the Lord] with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind . . . .
If you seek Him, He will be found by you . . . . Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you . . . .
Drew, this is my prayer and the prayer of your father, too. We've seen this "wholehearted devotion" and "willing mind" throughout the years, in so many various (and often humorous) scenarios. You once memorized over 100 countries and could point them out on a map. At age two. This shows a willing mind. You often called THE ENTIRE family to the front window to watch the garbage . . . and recycling . . . and yard debris trucks circle through our cul-de-sac. Every week. This shows a wholehearted devotion.
It's still there, it's just matured quite a bit. (Trust me.)
And now you have a temple to work on: "The Lord has chosen you to build a temple." You're on the cusp of a new mission: the mission of adulthood. We -- along with many, many friends and family -- have given you tools and plans and guidelines over the years . . . and now it's time. It's time for you to step over the threshold with those tools in your pocket and to "be strong and courageous and do the work" the Lord has placed before you.
I know you will do well, Drew. You already have, and we are so proud of you. There will be bumps in the road. I know that you know that. For this I say with King David, "Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God" (yes, I too can attest to His faithfulness) "is with you. He will not fail you."
He will not fail you, Drew. Which means that -- in His hands and with your open hands -- your temple will be strong and mighty, a fortress that will declare His glory and majesty.
Your mission is a grand one, my son. Such a grand one! And I'm excited to see where the Lord will take you. I'm thankful for 18 years of delighting in your being, of marveling at who you are and how your mind and heart work. I'm thankful for your sense of humor, your generous heart, your respectful bearing, your responsible actions, your faithful friends, and your thoughtful nature.
Most of all, I'm thankful that God entrusted Dad and me with you. Apparently, you don't mind so much either. Last night, as you headed to bed and flashed that characteristic grin our way, you closed the first book of your life and eagerly cracked open the next, calling back, "Thanks for a great childhood!"
Yes, Drew. Thank you. Thank you, so very much.