Red: Week 3 - Daily Reflections Tuesday, October 20, 2015
This is the third week of daily reflections based on the sermon series, "Red: Understanding the Hard Sayings of Jesus." This week we'll be focusing on lessons of discipleship learned from Luke 14:26, where Jesus states "Unless you hate father, mother, sister, brother, wife and children--even yourself--you cannot be my disciple."
The previous two years, Merideth and I had driven up with him, our car jammed to gills with furniture, supplies, and all kinds of things to help make his dorm room "homey." But this time we stood in our driveway watching him leave, and filled with a new kind of sadness that we hadn't felt before.
We're not "helicopter" parents by any means. And by helicopter parents I mean the kinds of parents that hover over our kids, solving all their problems, fighting all their battles, never letting them succeed without taking some of the credit, and never--ever--letting them fail at anything.
We've generally let our kids fight their own battles, with few exceptions. We have been all over them when they were trending toward laziness, and have let them suffer the pain of failure from time to time so they know what it feels like. And we have always tried to step back and let them bask in the limelight when they triumph.
So what I am saying is that we worked very hard to get to the point where my son would pack all of his own stuff into his car and drive off to school by himself. Like a lot of those kinds of moments in life, however, it was incredibly bittersweet when it happened, and it filled us with a sense of loss, tinged with a bit of worry.
This week we are talking about the things we need to surrender to God in order to more fully follow His Son, Jesus. Yesterday, I wrote that we need to be willing and able to surrender our family relationships. A reader emailed me after she read the devotion and asked if it had been intentional that I left off "children" in my list of family members that we need to surrender.
While it's true that I had been planning all along to have a separate devotion on the topic of children, it was kind of telling in a way that I accidentally left "children" off of my list. I think surrendering your children to God is one of the most difficult acts of surrender.
Honestly, it wasn't until right this moment that I connected the dots on why I might have done left "children" off the list. I don't want to think about the notion that, in the words of John F Kennedy, my children might be "hostages to fortune." I want to believe that God has a bigger, grander plan for them. But letting them go as they step into the path toward that plan is one of the most difficult things to do as a parent.
Proverbs 22:6 gives us a bit of comfort here: Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
The challenging portion of this Proverb is that there is a lot of uncertainty between the "training up the child" half of the verse, and the "when he is old" half. There's no step by step process, an outline of the stages of development of your child after you do the work of training her. As parents we must do our part, to be sure. We have to train our children in the way they should go as followers of Christ, as children of God, and then we trust God with the rest--we surrender our children to God's will.
This is a challenging lesson for parents of all ages. It's an exercise of trust and faith that God cares for our children (and grandchildren) more than we could possibly care for them. And with this realization can come perfect peace that God also has their best interests at heart, along with a plan to give them hope and a future.