Picture this. My wife and I and our kids skipping, yes skipping, hand in hand singing hymns on our way to church. Can you believe it? Okay, this is not even close to our reality. But is that good or bad?
Of all the aspects of our spiritual walk, the most confounding is our children’s faith or the lack of it. Only our own faith matters more to us.
Sure, anyone can be full of grace when they don’t have sick and screaming kids hanging on them. Healing leprosy is child’s play compared to navigating the hormonal battle field of a 15 year old. Sometimes I wish Jesus had kids, and that his example as a parent found its way into the Bible. Wouldn’t that be great?
- When his kid threweth a temper tantrum, the Son of Man dealteth with it in this manner…
- When his pre-teen suffereth anguish, the Nazarene thusly handled it…
- When his adolescent experimenteth with alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, the opposite sex, dangerous behavior, etc… God’s Son spoketh thusly…
When the kids are very young, it is wonderful. You sing and pray with them, and they are content. Some are blessed with a special grace, and they merge peacefully into the Christian walk. But many rebel — just like their parents did. Or worse, they comply just to please you and not God.
Some of the most powerful temptations appear when it comes to our kids’ relationship with Christ. There is a strong desire to control the outcome. Or maybe apathy appears disguised as false humility. Perhaps we don’t want them to suffer the trials of the Christian walk (ouch). We want so dearly for it to turn out all right, yet it is so completely out of our control. We are neither the owners nor the givers of God’s grace.
As difficult as it may be, I know when my children reject, or appear to reject, the faith that I have to let it go. My Isaac must be placed upon the altar in adoration. My example must suffice. Then, when they discover Jesus on their own, it will be all theirs and not some distorted by-product of my will.
So we don’t have “Jesus the parent”, but we do have a fatherly example. A Father who gave us his most prized possession. A Father who gave us everything, and we are his children. How infinitely patient he was with me. How merciful and tender was his healing grace. He always had time for me and he always was there. I never even came close to the limit of his forgiveness even though I tried. And in this interplay of being God’s child and being a parent, I discover little by little the answers. He answers all my questions and quiets all my fears.
This post is an excerpt from the book Press Forward. Get it on Amazon.