All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
and great shall be the peace of your children (Isaiah 54:13, ESV).
My husband was deployed when my youngest was born. Then, during the next year, we had so many difficulties: we were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, he deployed again, I sold our house, and I moved to a strange city, alone, with the kids. When he returned from overseas, the adjustment was hard. Since then we’ve endured chronic illnesses, separation from family, marriage troubles and more…and I’ve been grieved that, for so long, we’ve been stretched so thin.
It has grieved me that we haven’t always shown our children
a clear picture of their Heavenly Father.
Parents are supposed to demonstrate the Father’s character, in part so their children will know what He is like. We tried. We gave them God’s Word and told them about the sacrifice of Jesus and the love of God. But, as for showing them God’s Word by living a life of sacrifice and love, we have fallen short. Here’s what I wish we could imitate better:
The Lord is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.
I know about sowing and reaping. We should reap a harvest that matches what we have sown. We want to sow seeds of love, but too often, we have planted selfishness, fear, unforgiveness, unkindness. Yet, our children are pretty happy, mostly polite, genuinely kind, very forgiving, and they really love the Lord. Huh? I am so thankful for God’s grace—that we don’t always get what we deserve. Thank you Lord, for instructing their hearts, where we have failed.
When I think of all the years and all the difficulties between these two pictures, I am astonished. This is truly the work of the Holy Spirit. Because of the work of Jesus, our Great High Priest, this is true:
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
And they will not need to teach their neighbors,
nor will they need to teach their relatives,
saying, ‘You should know the Lord.’
For everyone, from the least to the greatest,
will know me already.
And I will forgive their wickedness,
and I will never again remember their sins.
It is good to remember that “successful parenting” is done best by Our Heavenly Father. Isn’t is wonderful that Jesus bridges our shortcomings and meets us in the middle?