Exciting phrases, easy acronyms, and memorable lists formed from dense works of systematic theology can be helpful for the everyday Christian. While these reductions of God’s Word and His nature help us understand general frameworks, they are unable to help us understand everything the Bible teaches. It is one thing...
Our youngest left for college a few weeks ago. For the first time, my husband and I have no one to wake for school, help with homework, or share the car keys.
I’m not sure when ABCs became SATs—overnight, it seems. Too quickly, we moved from Play-Doh, training wheels, and Legos (well, no one is ever too grown up for Legos) to driver’s licenses and dating. I blinked, and my two babies were suddenly young adults writing college application essays and working summer jobs.
We’ve heard a lot about helicopter parents in recent years. The temptation to protect our kids from all disappointment and step in to solve all problems is huge. We love our children, so naturally, we want to keep them from harm. The trouble is that we live in a world of trouble, and even the most protective parents can’t insulate kids from everything. We train up our children the best we can, but in the end, we trust that God is a far more capable protector than we are, and we choose to trust him with our children as they move into the next chapter of their lives.
And so while we can’t step in and solve every problem the coming years will bring, we can step in and pray. Thinking ahead to what our kids will face as they begin their adult lives, I am praying that God will go before them and grant them the following:
May God Grant Them Peace
School comes more easily for some than others. A WebMD study reports that 53% of parents surveyed report that school/homework is the source of stress in children.
From the study:
The stress kids now feel in early childhood continues to mount as kids get older. The American Psychiatric Association’s Stress in America survey finds that high school students report stress levels that top those of adults. More than half of all college students (54%) have felt “overwhelming anxiety” sometime within the last 12 months, according to the American College Health Association, up from 48.4% in 2010.
In college, many students discover that, unlike in high school, they are no longer the smartest kids in the class and that they now compete among an entire freshman class of smart kids. They find professors who neither take attendance nor check homework. Independent learning is required, and that ambiguity introduces a whole new kind of stress.
Our kids face anxiety from preschool through adulthood, but Jesus promised peace:
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)
I pray that God will give my kids rest in the trials ahead, that he’ll calm their fears and ease their anxieties, and that he’ll give them the peace that only he can give. In this world, they’ll face trouble. But they can take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16:33).
May God Grant them Wisdom
I want more for my children than success at school, more than knowledge alone; I want them to seek and find wisdom. We can find many people with great educations and impressive work experience but with very little wisdom in dealing with the surprises of life. We also know people with no more than a high school education whose wisdom in handling adversities is astounding.
From Ravi Zacharias (“The Beginning of Wisdom,” June 20, 2013):
Some of us will be granted access to fine educations, others offered an array of possibilities for achievement. Many of us work diligently to position ourselves for extraordinary success in a rapidly-changing world. In any of these possible triumphs a sense of invincibility can be engendered — regardless of what measure of turbulence may lie ahead.
Yet unfortunately, academic or material advancement does not necessarily confer wisdom. How foolish it would be for us to take what generations preceding us have valued in coping with life’s turbulence and cast it all aside because we are “modern.”
God’s Word tells us that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). Wisdom is mentioned over 40 times in the book of Proverbs alone. It belongs to the humble (Proverbs 11:2) and the righteous (8:12). It is more valuable than gold (16:16) and jewels (8:11). Wisdom is as sweet as honey (24:14) and brings the kind of pleasure that wrongdoing can never deliver (10:23).
So I pray that God will grant my children wisdom to first seek him, and then to apply the knowledge he grants them to do what God asks of them.
May God Grant them Endurance
The race that our children must run requires endurance, and not just to accomplish school work or finish a course of study. Endurance will be required to handle difficult choices, abrasive people, and stressful relationships. They will need endurance to live as Christians in a hostile world.
I pray that my children will seek the endurance that can only be found in their individual relationships with the Lord. May they find what is promised to them in scripture so that, with Paul, they can one day say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
May God Grant Them Hope Found in Salvation
School will present our kids with new ideas and new opportunities to succeed. They’ll discover skills they didn’t know they have. They’ll face many counterfeit gods, but I pray that they look beyond the allure of achievement and find their fulfillment in Christ alone.
Achievement can never replace the hope that comes from a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Whether a son or daughter made a profession of faith at a young age or more recently, or perhaps not at all yet, we can pray that God will grant him or her the kind of hope penned by the songwriter years ago:
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand.
(Edward Mote, 1834)
I pray that my children will grow in faith. That they will experience the hope that is only available through salvation so that they say of themselves, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
May God grant them peace, wisdom, endurance, and hope. Amen.