Parenting is Hard

Parenting is Hard

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.” Exodus 16:4

I can’t imagine what I put my parents through as I was struggling with my drug addiction. I know how I love my kids and I know how I hurt when they hurt. So, I know that it must have been agonizing to watch me tear my life apart with repeated relapses. They never said it, but if I’d have been in my parent’s shoes, I’d have wanted to say, We didn’t raise you this way. Grow up. Stop acting like this.

As parents, we love our children and we desire that they experience lives of joy, purpose, and meaning. As Christians, we believe that means that we teach them to follow God’s path, seeking his purpose for their lives. When they were young, we disciplined them, guiding their behavior, insisting upon obedience. When they did wrong, we corrected them, showing them right. Why? Because we wanted them to grow up to live as they should. Yes, their behavior, in part, reflects upon us, but mostly, we simply want what’s best for them. So, when they were young, we disciplined them to shape and guide them.

We didn’t invent this of course. We simply borrowed it from God the father, who disciplines his children so that they may learn faith and obedience. This is the message of today’s passage. In the story, as God brought his people out of Egypt, seeking the promised land, they lacked a food source. God led them into this predicament, precisely to teach them dependence on him. God created his people to experience their fullest lives only when following him, and so, he used this trial to teach them faith and obedience. When they were hungry, God promised to literally rain bread from heaven. Obey me and I will provide for you. Keep your eyes on me and follow with your feet. Obey me and you will find life. Disobey me, and you will find misery.

This is still God’s message, and he still uses life trials to teach us faith and obedience. Because he loves us, he wants what’s best for us. Because he created us to find authentic life, joy, and peace only in following his will, he desires that we do so. Like any good parent, he allows us to find misery when we go our own way. And, like any loving parent, he welcomes us back with open arms when we return. Daily, the choice is ours. Like a stubborn child, we can run from God. Or, we can choose faith and obedience, experiencing the lives for which we were created.

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