It would be blasphemy to say that God kicked my boy when he was down but that’s what it felt like at the time.

I remember asking Tristan to help us by driving to the mechanic’s so we could drop off a car. I remember seeing his car creep ahead of me in bumper-to-bumper traffic and then the flash of police lights. Panic gripped me as I wondered if it was Tristan they had stopped. What law could he have broken at 5 mph? It was bizarre.

Sure enough, there he was. Defeated and embarrassed by the side of the road. I pulled over and the policewoman explained to me the simple traffic mistake he had made.

At the time I  wanted to side with the police so that Tristan would earn a healthy respect for obeying every single traffic law. I almost saw it as a good thing.

What I didn’t know is that because he only had a Learner’s License it would result in the loss of it. For the next 9 months, he would have no way to drive.

As I looked back on the incident I could see how Tristan was only following the cars ahead of him and trying not to make the cars behind him mad. It was a rookie mistake. But contacting the traffic court to fight it would end up being fruitless.

As Tristan got more and more isolated and depressed, I got more and more mad at the police for their judgment call. But I always came back to the sovereignty of God. God is the one who placed that policeman there. God is the one who turned the heart of that policeman away from mercy.

As a result of his lost license, I ended up having to drive Tristan to all of his appointments, work, and school. After his last doctor’s appointment I said, “Tristan, I wish I had stood up for you. I wish I had appealed to that policeman’s sense of justice. The mistake you made was not worth the punishment of losing your license for 9 months and I’m so sorry I didn’t appeal to them about that.”  He just listened to me silently.

I couldn’t help but think, My boy is defeated already, God, are you sure You had to do this?

It wasn’t until many months after Tristan’s death that I was able to go back over his last year on earth and see God’s purpose.

What I thought was useless, senseless, punishment was a mercy from God. He knew I’d need those long car rides. He knew I’d need that precious time with my son because Tristan’s remaining days were coming to an end.

All I could see was bad, bad, bad in Tristan’s license loss. God was saying, watch, wait, trust. You will see in time that my works are always for your benefit and for my glory. The more senseless it seems, the greater amount of allegiance and trust it will take, and that only magnifies My goodness when it comes.

Today I do glorify God and thank Him for that merciful act of placing a policeman in just the right place and time to take away my son’s freedom and give me the precious gift of time with my boy.

Far from kicking him when he was down, God was busy working all things together for good for Tristan who was called according to His purpose, not my purpose. I learned that my purpose always falls short of God’s because He sees the beginning, middle, and end all at once, and all I can see is what’s right in front of me.

Romans 8:28

Dear God, thank you for prompting me to tell Tristan my regrets so he could see his mom sticking up for him. There are so many more times in life I wish I had shown mercy like that to my poor boy. I didn’t know he was sick! But even that I can give to You. You are there with him now and he is perfectly known and perfectly knows all about his life on earth. He must be marveling at all of the stories You have in mid-process right now. I bet all the hosts of heaven wait with bated breath to see how You’re going to bring it all together in the end. It can’t come fast enough for me. Hug my boy for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.