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Sept 11, 2021; Trust

Posted on September 11, 2021 at 10:50 AM

My youngest grandson, who is inexplicably approaching his 18th birthday, has made the decision to enter the military. The Marines to be exact. While I have a mix of emotions running through me, the most prevalent is dread. The political situation of our world couldn’t be more unstable so who knows what the coming years might bring. And this is a young man who has never been away from home, and one that I still must remind to brush his teeth and make his bed. How I can possibly trust him to strangers, or even to his own devices?

But as the time approaches and I must look my fear straight in the face, I also must acknowledge that this is where the faith I’ve preached about for decades will have to have some teeth. No messing around now, I either trust in God’s sovereign will or I don’t. And if I search myself thoroughly, I need to also acknowledge that I’m not being asked to trust my grandson to strangers, I’m allowing God to work His will in my grandson’s life. And there is no precious cargo that He is not capable of carrying.

The world would like to call us naive to have such innate hope in a God we can’t (for the most part) physically touch or speak to, let alone plead our case. We’ve learned that life isn’t fair, and that inexplicable things happen with regularity. How then can we blindly put “faith over fear” as some are fond of saying.

If we had our choice, no one would ever have to learn about life the ‘hard way,’ have a broken heart (let alone a broken bone), and we would never be faced with watching them be sick or perhaps even leave us before we think it’s time. I know if I had my way, I’d be sending my grandson off to a college – one not too far away – where I could grumble about him bringing home a gigantic bag of dirty laundry every week or so, and I could see for myself that he’s eating right. But that isn’t part of the human condition, and that kind of insulation is certainly not guaranteed no matter how devout a Christian you are.

The mistake we make is in thinking that faith exists without fear. I think there is a healthy bit of both in every situation, or no balance exists. It is our human nature that wants us to believe that to feel afraid will cripple us, and the exact opposite of showing trust in the Father. Fear can certainly weaken if we allow it to consume us. But, as the Apostle Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 12 “when we are weak, then we are strong.” He had clearly petitioned to Lord to take something painful from him – a ‘thorn in his flesh’ – but God said to him “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Of course, we wish we could keep out loved ones wrapped in a cocoon of safety, but that’s simply not possible. Particularly with our children, all we can do is armor them with prayer, inoculate them with good scripture teaching and show them how to use their own moral compass. Sometimes we recognize that we haven’t done a particularly good job of some of those things through the years, so perhaps part of our misgivings are based on our own insecurity. But despite our shortcomings God will move through the lives and hearts of our young people and our prayers will not go unheard.

I would be less than honest if I didn’t admit to trying every tactic I know to dissuade my grandson from this path, and even as he approaches the day where he will face all the required testing to make sure he’s fit for active duty, it’s been a conscious battle to pray for God to have His will, and not to plead for mine.

The very words I pray have changed because I remember that he doesn’t really belong to me. He is young, but he is a man of God who has given his heart to the Lord. All the preparation has been done, as best we could do in our own human weakness. We dedicated him back to God when he was an infant and it isn’t our job to try and ordain his future now. That will be between him and God. That doesn’t make me an award winning Christian, it makes me a woman who has learned that even in pain there is victory.

Psalm 37:23 tells us that the steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord. Sadly, for a family sending their youngest into the unknown, we can only cling to the promise of that scripture, know that God always has a watchful eye on our children – even when they are grown adults trying to find their own way. God’s path may not be smooth and easy. In fact, there is no guarantee that it won’t be gut wrenchingly difficult -- but when they are walking in the will of God there is no safer place they can be.

That may not always look like the bubble of safety we long for, but God is listening to our passionate pleadings on behalf of our young people. 1 Peter 3:12 tells us that the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears attentive to their prayers. Attentive doesn’t always mean His answer will be what we want to hear. And that’s where our faith kicks in. Not without fear, but certainly with the comfort that can come from know that God is in control of every situation and every outcome.

We must trust that God’s will is always the best way, even when we can’t quite see it. He already proved His love by sending His Son – as a sacrifice for ours. So, despite our fear for their future, we know that He understands our misgivings and, even more than that, He loves our children more than we ever could.

Be blessed, my friend.  God is on the throne!

 

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