Worrying About My Kids
And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father . . . Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” Genesis 22:7-8
While visiting my son in college recently, my wife made an observation. She said that even though she is generally a worrier, and I am not, when it comes to our kids, I’m the one who worries more. She’s probably right. I pray for my kids every morning, I think about them during the day, and I text and call several times a week. It’s not that they’re not doing well. It’s just that I know the mistakes I’ve made in life, and I know the evil of this world. I’d like for them to avoid my mistakes and I’d like them to be insulated from that evil. So, yes, I’m intensely concerned for my kid’s well-being. I know however, that worrying does me nor them any good. So, what do I do with my concern?
Today’s passage, I think, provides some guidance in parenting my adult children. In the story, God tested Abraham, commanding him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham set out to obey. I can’t imagine the anguish he must have experienced as the two traveled together to the altar. En route, Isaac noticed they had no lamb to sacrifice and asked his father about it. Abraham replied, God will provide . . . Did Abraham know that God was going to provide a lamb, saving Isaac? I think he believed that. Yet, Abraham obeyed, putting Isaac on the altar, even lifting the knife. Then God finally intervened. Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me (Genesis 22:12).
Did God not know that Abraham would obey? Of course he did. This test wasn’t for God. It was for Abraham. Through the test, Abraham experienced a terrible internal struggle, but he wrestled his will to the ground and obeyed God, being transformed himself. He gave Isaac up to God and he obeyed, believing God would provide even when all appeared lost. Abraham’s struggled proved to himself that he believed in God above all. God will provide.
I can’t control the world and I can’t make choices for my kids. I can, however, act rightly or wrongly myself. I can over involve myself, enable my kids, spoil them, or be overcritical of them. Or I can parent with wisdom and faith. When it comes to my concern for my kids, I must always look to God, asking what he wants me to do. This is about my growth as much as theirs. Daily, I must obey God, leaving the results up to him, trusting in him through the good times and bad. God will provide.