“He said, “Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.”
I had not seen her in three years. As I walked into Starbucks to write that morning, I saw her smiling face through the glass windows. We sat down, catching up on three years of family and work history. I was surprised to find out that her son is now a teenager. It seems as if he was in elementary school just the other day.
As we talked about our children, she shared some of her teenager’s struggles regarding his faith. We talked about the challenges our children face today, and how, more than ever before, they must be equipped to face the relentless questioning of their faith in confidence. We, as parents, often feel helpless in the struggle against a world that calls Christians weirdos, attacking our children for their beliefs, while striving to steal their hearts away.
“Lord, you take care of me… but let ME take care of them!” she said.
We both burst out laughing, amused by the truth behind the joke.
We were talking about how hard it is for us, moms, to relinquish our children’s care to God, unreservedly. Indeed, our tendency is to pray… and then worry. Pray some more… and then pick our children right back up from the altar of surrender, in an attempt to solve their problems ourselves.
We can’t stand the thought of Junior hurting.
What if God allows them to make bad choices? What if the only way their character can be molded is through pain and suffering?
Oh, no, Lord. Not that… pllleeeease!
Yet, if we believe that God indeed works everything together for our good… and His glory (Romans 8:28), then why do we fret?
Can we not look back and realize that we have matured and grown spiritually with our past mistakes? Can we not remember that our bad choices broke us over and over again… thus making us run to Him who mends the shattered hearts?
Is it really so bad that our teenager or young adult child questions God? Wouldn’t we not rather them question Him, prove Him faithful, thus finding Jesus as the only Way, Truth and Life… on their own?
I personally want my babies to love Jesus because they have experienced Him as their faithful and true Friend, not because I said so. Unfortunately, I also know that they’ll probably have to suffer before their love for the Master is perfected.
After all, how will they know His heart without proving Him?
And how will they prove Him if they don’t feel they need Him?
And how will they feel they need Him without pain?
Still… this momma’s heart cringes to think of letting them go…
Meanwhile, God is saying to you and me:
“Have I not made them? Knit each one of their cells in your womb?”
“Do I not love them more than you do?”
It may just be that your call today is similar to Abraham’s, who was asked to bring his only promised son to the altar of sacrifice (Genesis 22).
The heart of the story was never about Isaac’s life. It was about Abraham’s heart. Likewise, the trials our children go through bring forth an awesome opportunity for our spiritual growth as parents.
You see, in the process of working on our children, God works on us as well: Shaking our prayer life. Strengthening our testimony. Reminding us of His faithfulness. Keeping us dependent upon Him. Teaching us real TRUST, as we bring our most precious possessions to the altar of sacrifice, as if to say: They are yours anyway, Lord.
These are all good things.
They’re the good that is birthed out of the bad: Closeness to Yahweh. Deeper love. Genuine Trust.
So… here is a challenge, my friend:
If your child or anyone else in your life is wandering away from the Master, will you bring him or her to the altar of sacrifice today?
Will you choose to trust that the same God who asks you to cease striving and surrender them to Him, will certainly provide the ram for the sacrifice?
Because just as He did for Abraham, He wants to bless you for your faith… beyond measure.
So, why don’t we join in prayer, hands held up to Heaven in surrender, calling upon our children’s Maker today:
YOU take care of them, Lord.
They’re not mine, anyway.