Victory in Parenting

Recently I had the privilege of being led in worship by my oldest son, Kurt. He was singing these lyrics from on stage with the praise team at Reimage Church, “Faithful you are. Faithful forever you will be. Faithful you are. And all your promises are yes and amen.” 

I thought back to how many times along the way I wondered how things were going to turn out in his life. I wondered if truth would take root. I wondered if strongholds would be broken. I wondered if rebellion would be replaced with humble submission. I wondered if faith would move beyond duty and be driven by pure love. I wondered if we would have the wisdom and knowledge we needed to guide him. 

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

John 14:14 says, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

Kurt will be 21 next month and I am beginning to see the “yes” and “amen” of God’s promises. It is clear to me how faithful God has been. So much of the time I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing as a mom. I made so many mistakes. I still do. However, if we will commit to training up our children the way God directs us to, and if we will ask Him to give them a heart to love Him, He will be faithful to do it. 

I know what goes through every parent’s heart and mind at some point because it has run through mine so many times, “What if I do everything I can to train my child in the way they should go, and cry out to God on their behalf, but they choose another path?” In other words, “What if I don’t get the ‘yes’ on God’s promises that I’m looking for with my children?”

Listen to these other song lyrics we sang together that morning:

The weapon may be formed, but it won’t prosper

When the darkness falls, it won’t prevail

‘Cause the God I serve knows only how to triumph

My God will never fail

I’m gonna see a victory

For the battle belongs to You, Lord

There’s power in the mighty name of Jesus 

Every war He wages He will win

I’m not backing down from any giant

‘Cause I know how this story ends 

You take what the enemy meant for evil 

And You turn it for good

Sometimes we become confused. We think these children are ours. We think the battle belongs to us. The truth is that our children belong to the Lord and the battle is His. And the God we serve knows only how to triumph. He will not fail. He is faithful. We don’t have to back down or be afraid. What the enemy means for evil in the lives of our children, God will use for good.

There are faithful and godly parents right now who are heartbroken because they are convinced that their child will never turn to the Lord. There are other parents who have lost children who seemed to have not ever walked with the Lord. Our gracious God has given us two real-life examples to cling to in Scripture. 

Samson’s parents had a desire to do all that God had instructed them to do as parents. They weren’t perfect, but they were faithful and they sought God in their parenting. And yet, Samson made a lot of bad choices. I’m sure they must have felt heartbroken at certain points watching him make such devastating mistakes and living a very ungodly life. But, we see the “yes” and “amen” of God in Samson’s life. At the end of his life, he cries out to God. And God hears him and answers him (Judges 16:28). And Scripture eulogizes him as having judged Israel for twenty years. Even though there was pain and difficulty, Samson did fulfill God’s purpose for his life. If we have a child who is making some mistakes and not living how we want them to, we can continue to seek God on their behalf and actively participate with Him in any way that He directs us to. We can believe that we will see God’s purposes fulfilled in their life.

At the point at which Our Heavenly Father experienced his most painful moment as a parent, another real-life story was unfolding that He lovingly made certain was a part of His eternal Word. He records for us that when Jesus was dying there was a thief next to him being executed for his crimes. This thief asked Jesus to save him in the final moments of his life, and Jesus replies to him by saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)  That thief spent a lifetime making bad choices, but all it took was one good choice at the end to assure him that he would be with Jesus in Paradise. For anyone who has suffered the devastation of losing a child, and it seemed as if they spent their life making bad choices, be reminded that all it takes is one good choice for them to be with Jesus.

But how can we know for sure that they asked Jesus to save them the way that thief did? We don’t know, but we can believe. We can believe that all those times we prayed for their salvation, God heard us and answered us. We can believe that we will see them again when we see Jesus. We can believe that God is faithful and He gives us what we ask in His name. We can believe that in our child’s final moments they turned to the Lord.

At the end of the worship set that morning, we sang, “When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we’ll sing and shout the victory.” That’s our victory. That’s our best “yes” and “amen.” We may never see a child walk with the Lord on this earth, but we can still see them walk with Him in eternity.

If you are seeing your children walk with Jesus, praise Him for it. He has done it.

If you are not seeing them walk with Jesus, pray and ask Him for it. He will do it.

If you never saw your child walk with Jesus, trust and believe that a day of rejoicing is coming. Believe that on that day you will see your child walking with Jesus.