Big Hearted

by Sarah Roney

At our weekly park play date, another seasoned mama looked in my eyes and talked openly about her oldest son. Like my son, he has ADHD, and I could tell that she was no stranger to the hopelessness I have felt. How do you bring peace to the depths of your child’s heart when he seems to be in a constant state of chaos? How do you bring peace to your home when his siblings never know if rules will be followed and boundaries will be kept? How do you find hope for his future when all you can see is impulsivity, poor decision-making and erratic behavior?

I’ve read books and talked to like-minded mamas. I’ve spent hours at the neuropsych office and months adjusting medication. I still meet regularly with teachers to create IEPs that cater to his educational needs and drop him off weekly at developmental therapy. All of these things are important and powerful. I am thankful for the resources we have and the community in which we live.

But the most powerful thing has been to look to the Scriptures and discover that God used someone just like my son to change the world: Simon Peter. Though a grown man, and a personal student of Jesus Christ, he was impulsive. His ideas were hilarious, his reactions were dramatic, and the more I read, the more I see my son in him.

Why not ask Jesus to build three tents for Elijah, Moses and Jesus? (Matthew 17:4). He wanted to respond, so he blurted out what was likely the very first idea that popped into his head.

He saw Jesus walking on the water towards his boat in a storm, so of course, he asked to do the very same thing (Matthew 14:28). Some might call it faith, but anyone practical would call it crazy.

After Jesus shared that even his own disciples would deny him, Peter was the one who stood up and boldly declared “even if all fall away on account of you, I never will” (Matthew 26:33). Peter wound up not only denying Him, but doing so three times – and then weeping bitterly about it.

And when the soldiers came to arrest his beloved Jesus, he pulled out his sword and passionately cut off the ear one of them (John 18:10-11). Though his heart was big, his response was both hasty and dangerous.

According to tradition, the Gospel of Mark was inspired by Peter’s eyewitness accounts. And what word does this Gospel use more than any other? Immediately. “Immediately they told Jesus about her (Mark 1:30), “immediately Jesus knew in his spirit” (Mark 2:8), “immediately the girl stood up” (Mark 5:42). In Peter’s mind, everything happened immediately; in my son’s world, he wishes it would too.

This is Simon Peter, and this is my son. Strong reactions. Bold assertions. Impulsive behaviors. But big hearts. So big, in fact, that Jesus names Peter as the rock on which His entire church is built (Matthew 16:18). So as the summer days wear on and his behavior threatens to kill me, I will remember that the obedient follow rules rather than build churches. That orderly thinkers don’t think outside of the box enough to shape history. That those who wait too long often watch someone else move mountains. And that the self-controlled don’t always have enough passion to right the wrongs that they see in front of them. God made my son perfectly in all of his imperfections, and through those very flaws, he just might change the world.