I was standing at our booth, set up at the fair last month when I spotted two of our campers. Despite the bustle of the fair, their eyes locked onto me, and they came running with big smiles on their faces. Their foster mother followed a short distance behind them. We chatted for a few minutes, then the kids headed off to start a craft project.
Their foster mother then turned to me and said, “I have to tell you what a change I’ve seen in Bradley since he came home from camp.”
She explained how her foster son had given his heart to Jesus during camp and had wanted to be baptized. When our staff contacted her to tell her the good news, she was overjoyed, but doubted that he would go through with the baptism.
“He’s always been terrified to put his head under the water. In the pool he would always stay on the steps and never get his hair wet. I couldn’t even get him to wash his hair in the bath. Every time I tried, he would pinch and fight with me.”
I nodded my understanding. Working with foster children can be especially challenging, and you never know what traumatic experience might have led to irrational fear like this.
I remembered explaining to Bradly that, if he didn’t want to go under the water, I would baptize him by pouring water over his head. But, after I described how immersion symbolizes the death of our old life, and the new life we have in Christ, Bradley wanted to do it.
“Since he got baptized at camp,” the foster mom told me, “he’s not afraid of the water anymore! He’s swimming all over the pool, and now he wants to wash his hair every night. All the fear is gone!”
I rejoiced with the mother and looked at Bradley, smiling at the craft table a short distance away. The words of 1 John 4:18 came to mind, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…”
Bradley encountered the most powerful force in the universe—the love of God—and the fear never stood a chance.