“Don’t ever forget that the child is not yours.”
Not mine? I knew that being pregnant would bring an onslaught of unwanted advice, but this advice seemed right out of left field. I was pregnant with my first child and relishing every detail of her growth and development. I marveled at the wonder of creation taking place inside of me. ME. So, what did this person mean? Not mine? Had this advice come from a perfect stranger I could have easily dismissed it as crazy talk, however I knew the person speaking to me and I respected him. I asked him to please explain.
He began to unpack the wonders of Psalms 139, the true meaning of how we are all God’s from the very beginning. Our children are simply on loan to us for a very short time. The very best thing we can do is lead them right back to Him.
My first child is now 10-years-old and I am preparing to send her to middle school. I’m in prayer over how to get her to the other side of these perilous school years unscathed. I desperately want a “to do” list or a “how to” list that will assure her safe passage. A recent study of Judges brought me face-to-face with a father who also wanted a plan for his child.
In Judges 13, the Angel of God revealed to Manoah’s wife that she will have a son. She immediately goes to her husband who wants to hear this news for himself. He prays, “please Lord, let the man of God you sent come again to us and teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born!” (vs 8) The Angel comes back and Manoah asks, “When Your words come true, what will the boy’s responsibilities and mission be?” (vs 12)
I love the Angel’s response. It makes me giggle! I love when scripture makes me giggle. Simply put the Angel said, “I’ve already told your wife!” The Angel had already told her exactly what to do, but his directions only took them as far as his birth. Manoah wanted more.
I can so relate to Manoah. He wanted a check list. He wanted a plan. He wanted to know exact details. The Angel’s command was a simple one. The boy was to be set apart and given to God from birth. (vs 5)
This wasn’t enough for Manoah. I get the sense Manoah wanted to take matters into his own hands. He wanted to groom his son with earthly hands rather than submit him to unseen Holy Hands. His son’s name was Samson and the next time we see Samson, he is acting like a spoiled brat. When I read his first words in the scriptures, I immediately thought of Veruca Salt screaming, “But I want it NOW!”
This is where I want to push pause on scripture. Where did Samson’s parents go so wrong? We don’t get the back story, but we do get the story of a man whom the Spirit of God had to wrestle with rather than simply lead.
God used him, but it was a bit like taming a wild lion, and that lion died blind and disgraced.
I read his story now as a parent and I quiver. I want so much more for my children!
“How do I get her through middle school?” I cry.
“I’ve already told you.” He replies. “She is mine. Simply give her back to Me. Talk about Me. Lead her to Me.”
You don’t have to know the details… you know the Author.
“Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates so that as long as the heavens are above earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your fathers.”
– Deut. 11:18-21
They are loaned to us for such a short time. The most important thing we can ever do as parents is realize we are not the most important part of their lives… HE IS. It’s not what we can do with them, it’s what He can do with them.
“How often we want instruction for tomorrow instead of obedience for today.”