“That brings out the mama bear in me,” a friend exclaimed.
Most parents love their children with a love so powerful it’s scary. New parents are blown away by love when they see their newborn baby. It’s been said that becoming a parent is like having your heart walking around outside your body. Such fierce love causes parents to struggle with their children growing up in a world filled with danger, evil, and potential pain. We make it our goal to control our child’s life. We take on the impossible task of guaranteeing our child’s safety. Adding to our fear is the realization our child has the freedom to choose, and we can’t control their choices. When our child is forty-five, we’ll still want their safety, well-being and happiness.
Once a parent, always a parent.
Recently, our twenty-four year old son mentioned a health issue he has and indicated he has no plans to have it taken care of. I couldn’t sleep that night. I started imagining all the possible results. In my mind, he was headed to an early grave because he left this issue untreated.
The next morning, I read about Abraham, Sarah and Hagar in Genesis 21. God promised Abraham and Sarah a son, even though Sarah was well past childbearing years. Sarah decided to help God by offering her servant, Hagar, to Abraham so he could have a son by her. Her plan was to then raise this son as Abraham’s heir. Hagar had a son but it didn’t work out the way Sarah thought it would. A few years later, God fulfilled His promise and by a miracle, Sarah did have a son, the intended heir. When conflict arose between the two sons, Sarah insisted Abraham get rid of Hagar and Ishmael. So, Abraham (with God’s blessing) gave them water and bread and sent them into the wilderness.
Hagar went as far as she could, until the water ran out. “Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot, for she said, ‘Let me not look on the death of the child.’ And as she sat opposite of him, she lifted up her voice and wept.” Genesis 21:16
I feel her pain. She’s done all she can. She’s convinced her son will die. How does a mom watch her son die of thirst?
But… “And God heard the voice of the boy, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, ‘What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not, for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Up! Lift up the boy, and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make him into a great nation.’” Genesis 21:17-18
“Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.” Genesis 21:19
Why did Abraham agree to send Hagar and their son into the wilderness? Unbeknownst to Hagar, God had already given Abraham a promise. “And I will make a nation of the son of the slave woman also, because he is your offspring.” Genesis 21:13
Before Hagar entered the wilderness, before she ran out of water, before she collapsed in pain and sorrow, expecting her son to die, God knew what would happen and had planned to make a nation from Ishmael. God had a plan Hagar didn’t know about. Then, He opened her eyes.
As a mom, I can start thinking like Hagar: because of this obstacle, my son will die. But God is sovereign. He’s the one who knows what the future holds and who holds each of us in His hands. I can trust Him. I can pray, and God will hear my prayers as He heard Ishmael (v. 17). I pray for our son and I give him advice when he wants it, but God already knows what will happen. He already has it covered. He had a plan for Ishmael from the beginning and He has a plan for our son. I can trust Him.
I don’t have a guarantee bad things won’t happen to our son. Trusting God doesn’t mean everything will work out as I want or that he’ll live to be a hundred years old. It means God already knows and He’s already there.
I can trust God no matter what.
Father, thank you that you knew the day you placed our son in our arms how his whole life would play out. You knew from the day he was born every obstacle he would face, each weakness, and each choice he would make. I know he belongs to you and you hold him in your hands. Thank you dear Father! I know I can trust him to you.