Giving Our Kids Up to God
And God spoke to this effect—that his offspring would be sojourners in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and afflict them four hundred years. Acts 7:6
I write from my own life experiences and as I’m going through the letting-go process with my 18-year-old this week, well, that’s what you’re going to read about. It seems like just the other day that both of my kids were nine years old. Yes, they were born close enough that they’re the same age for six weeks every fall. I remember, when they were both nine, telling my wife that our time with them in our home was already half over. I thought the first nine years had gone fast, but now I’ve blinked, and nine more years have evaporated.
It’s hard to let go. I love my kids and I pray for them every morning. I’d like to pray for a struggle-free life, but I know that’s not realistic or healthy. I understand that we grow through our trials, but still, as a parent, I want to protect them. When our kids go through something hurtful, we hurt for them. I can only imagine what heartache I put my parents through in my addiction as they watched me tear my life apart.
Whether we like it or not, time marches inexorably on and everyone, including our kids, experiences painful trials. In today’s passage, God promised Abraham that his descendants would inherit the promised land, but not before they would go through 400 years of slavery. Abraham himself, along with generations of his children, would live and die without ever seeing the fulfilment of this promise. It had to take great faith for Abraham to believe that despite life’s hardships, God was in control and that he was good.
What other choice did he have though? At some point, Abraham had to realize, like I must realize, that parents aren’t in control forever. At some point, we’ve got to let go and cut back on our parenting. Our kids will always be our kids, but as they grow, we must let them. As they fail, we must pray that they turn to God in their failure. They will struggle of course, which will be painful for them and us. Daily though, we must give them up to the care of God. What other choice do we have? We can’t – and shouldn’t try to – live their lives for them.