I’ve raised kids long enough to know that there is no formula for turning out great ones.
But I’ve also raised them long enough to know that “a child left to himself brings his mother shame”.
Is there a greater mystery than the fact that a heart belongs to God and yet parents have a grave responsibility to train them and bring them up in the Lord?
Where’s the balance then in what belongs to Him and what belongs to us? If it’s all Him, we have a free ride. I don’t think any of us believes that. And if it’s all us, then the formula should “work” right?
Sadly, too many of us have fallen into one of the ditches, either forsaking our careful responsibility to train “arrows” because after all, “it’s only God’s grace”, or depending on a formula and being wildly disillusioned to find that it doesn’t always “work”; and if it does, being swallowed in pride, attributing their “success” to our precision.
The answer? Just like God’s sovereignty over salvation and our responsibility to submit to His authority intersect at a mysterious, humanly-out-of-grasp understanding, so does that of the dual partnership parents and God play in the lives of our children.
We cannot escape our obligation to teach them to love the Lord, even if they don’t appear to. We are commanded to give them wisdom–the fullness of all that is written in Scripture, to help them gird themselves with the armor of God, to resist Satan, to take every thought captive, to repent of sins, to pursue holiness, to deny lusts, to love their neighbor, to walk in humility, to do good works, to flee sin, and to stand firm in the faith.
Underneath those commands we must help our children flesh them out in their lives. To speak respectfully, to not burp at the table, to dress lovingly, to pay careful attention to their recreational choices and to express kindness in a thousand ways.
And even more than all that, we must live it, demonstrating the reality of Christ and the power of forgiveness.
We must be faithful. We cannot escape our never-ending obligations.
But still they are the Lord’s. He discipled carefully and faithfully, and still one turned away. God turns the heart and He indwells His children. We must hold both, simultaneously, understood or not, in our hands.
Walking this road with you and finding it often difficult….we keeping walking.
(Thank you, Cathy, for good dialogue that inspired this post )