Oh no, I moaned. Honey, please come. You need to see. It’s bad.
He came. I scrolled. And late Saturday night, we strode into our 12 year-old’s otherworld where Jim saw what I had seen:
No. Not good, Jim said,.
We winced at the too-gleeful, Joker-y profile picture of a 30-something male. One of Sam’s gaming “friends.” Our eyes raced down the message thread until they landed on this,
“You there, Sam?” Scotchlover16 wrote, when- thank God- Sam was already in bed.
“‘Sup Sam?” is all RealDirtyDon hadsaid.
Last month, our school offered “Online Safety: What Parents Should Know.” I didn’t go, But I know about phishing and trolling. I know that perverts and creeps sneak into kids’ sites seeking prey not play. Enter Scotchlover16 and RealDirtyDon.
So we two gaming novices- actually, gaming nots– scoured the site in vain for more red flags. But just because we couldn’t see them didn’t mean there weren’t there. These types are savvy. They don’t leave tracks beyond these creepy names and few lines of chat.
But whenever Sam was on, Scotchlover16 or RealDirtyDon were too. Just waiting for our son. Stalking. Prowling.
Anxiety hit. I feared.
Are you an A-Thrower?
But the Word of God is living and active, and at just the right time, at10:55 pm, Saturday, December 8th, a verse came to mind,
[C]asting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
Ant that reminded me of a sermon I heard last week on the same verse. The pastor mentioned a new term for garbage men. It’s G-Throwers. As in garbage-throwers. Then he asked, Are you an A-Thrower?
I remembered that too and right then, Jim and I did some A-throwing. We threw our anxiety on God. By grace, we obeyed.
Then we made our game plan: no drastic measures yet. Talk to Sam in the morning- gravely and calmly- and go from there.
Then we A-throwers fell into bed and slept.
Cast Them Like Coats (On A Donkey). And Pray.
But what, you might be asking, does A-throwing look like? How do we cast our cares?
It helps to know the same form of the Greek word translated cast or throw in 1 Peter 5:7 is found in Luke 19. The disciples had just fetched a donkey. Then verse 35 says, “They brought it to Jesus, and throwing [casting] their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it.”
When they cast their cloaks the disciples put them on the donkey. They didn’t wear or carry them. When we throw our cares on God, he carries them.
And how we throw them on him, Paul explained, is to pray: Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer…present your requests to God.
The next day, I had to throw them again.
No more let sins and sorrows grow.
Our race to church left no time for anxiety. Not until I’d slid into the back row, did the next wave of worry hit. But since I am training to be an A-thrower. and since on the job training is best, I did some A-throwing. I prayed.
Lord, please protect Sam. Please give us wisdom. I know you care. Amen.
Then, in the middle of Joy to the World, right at No more let sins and sorrows grow, I leaned over to Sam.
Sam, we need to talk about your gaming friends. You know, Scotchlover and RealDirtyDon? Dad and I don’t think you should be their friends.
His eyes got wide.
Son, did you know Scotch is a hard liquor- a dangerous beverage? And RealDirtyDon…well, you know, that does not sound good.
The Wonders Of His Love
Um, Mom? Sam whispered back. Scotch is Nick’s dog’s name. Remember Nick, my friend from school?
But that profile picture? That isn’t Nick.
No, Mom. He just picked that picture because he thought it was funny.
What about RealDirtyDon?
Oh, Mom, Sam giggled. Don is Donovan. He’s sitting right there-here Sam pointed up a few rows and to the left- with his mom and dad. Mr. and Mrs. Murphy- your friends.
Boy, did we laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh. By the time it simmered low enough to sing, the choir was on verse four.
He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove, the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love.
And wonders of His love.
You are His personal concern.
We know there’s more that is frightening ahead. There are always more worries to toss. A-throwers, like G-throwers, have job security. There are creeps and predators and evil men.
But there is a God who rules this world he so loves with truth and grace. There is a God who cares.
Exhibit A? That mom in the back row last Sunday. The one whose relieved laughter spilled joyful tears in wonder of God’s love. In wonder of a Father who actually calls his anxious kids to throw the weight of all their cares on Him. In wonder of a God who takes them on as his own personal concern.
One version of 1 Peter 5:7 says it this way, Throw the whole weight of your anxieties upon him, for you are his personal concern.
So- yes. You bet I’ll sing the wonders of His love.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.