This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.–1 John 5:14
Ten years ago, when Emily stood some fourteen years into this life, I did one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. She came to me one day and asked if I would take her and Andy, her boyfriend, to a four-day music festival, Cornerstone, held in the great metropolis of Bushnell, Illinois. Every year, Cornerstone packs in 15,000 to 20,000 mostly Christian music lovers and fellow sufferers to hear all manner of bands perform. No, you won’t find the Gaithers performing at Cornerstone. Most of the acts that civilized people enjoy wouldn’t be found on the bill.
Had you asked me on that day in 1998 to name the ten things I might do that summer, sweating for ten days in rural Illinois in the midst of a collection of weird-looking, exceptionally noisy, and sometimes unpleasant young people would not have made the list. It wouldn’t have made the top twenty, fifty or one hundred. Why then, the week of July 4, did I find myself driving into the grounds with not only Emily and Andy but two other boys and Alyson? Why indeed.
Had Emily asked me to drive her downtown to buy crack cocaine, a briefer and cheaper task, I would have said no. Similarly, I would not have agreed to a trip to the tattoo parlor or a marathon session on the Magic Teacups at Disneyland. I am perfectly capable of saying “no,” as my children can attest, but Cornerstone fit into my desires for my daughter. I hoped to grow her into a Christian adult with a personality. Happily, I think, I succeeded.
Scoffers look at John 5:14 and say, “Yeah, God will do whatever you want as long as it’s what he wants, too!” While this verse can be read in that manner, I like to think of it as the Cornerstone verse. God won’t give us what does not fit into his will, but he’s not necessarily rigid about what his will is. He might take us to Cornerstone or a mission trip. He might bless us as employees or business owners. As it turns out, Emily met Christian, her husband, at Cornerstone, the year after I stopped going.
This summer, I’m going back to the festival, accompanying Emily and Christian as well as my two younger kids, Thomas and Olivia. Who knows what wonders he has in store for us this time