“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’-which is the first commandment with a promise-‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” -Ephesians 6:1-4
In 1513 Juan Ponce de Leon, inspired by Native American legend, set sail for Bimini seeking riches and a fountain of youth. He would find neither.
The secret to having things go well with us and enjoying a long life is not found in Bimini. It is found in obedience. Ephesians 6:1-3 makes a remarkable claim. It promises that things will go well for those who obey their parents and they will enjoy long life. Whether we find ourselves continually training a little one to put their clothes in the hamper or having to gently guide a hurting teenager, we do well to always foster a heart of obedience in our children.
God chose to follow the command for children to obey their parents with a command for parents not to exasperate their children. A child’s job is to obey. A mother’s job is to train and instruct her child without frustrating them. This becomes crucial in a time of crisis.
As Caroline and I struggled through the past year and a half I had to ask the Holy Spirit to guide me in calling her to obedience while not expecting what was beyond her abilities. If I would have said to her, “Caroline, I forbid you to feel afraid!” I would have utterly exasperated her. However, neither could I allow her to become hysterical or filled with self pity. I knew she could not control the thoughts or feelings that were plaguing her, but by God’s grace and with help, she could learn to control her response to them. As a mother of a child battling fear and anxiety, I have to constantly seek God’s wisdom and discernment to know how to proceed in each situation that arises. The battle was so intense at some points that daily time in God’s Word and prayer was only a starting point. It required moment by moment prayer and seeking God through His Word.
At one point I became overbearing and realized that I was doing more harm than good by asking Caroline all day long how she was doing. The Holy Spirit revealed my error to me and I told Caroline that I felt like I was driving her nuts and causing her more anxiety by continually asking her how she was doing. I told her that I was going to stop checking in on her all the time but that I was praying for her and would be available to her anytime she wanted to talk or needed me. We saw good results from that.
On the flip side, there was one night when I had to get in her face and tell her to stop believing lies that the enemy was feeding her. She might not have enjoyed that much in the moment but, again, it brought about a good result and, in the end, she was glad I said it.
When our children face a time of crisis we can view it as a wonderful opportunity to spur them on to obedience with compassion and conviction so that things will go well for them. We don’t need to seek a fountain of youth. We just need to seek the Lord.
Ask God if there are any changes you need to make today to call your daughter to obedience in the midst of her crisis.
Ask God to reveal any ways you may be frustrating your daughter or hindering her healing.