If you’re like me, this whole quarantine thing has given you plenty of time to think. I have to admit that it’s nice to roll straight out of bed, have my daily quiet time, then walk 10 feet down the hall into my “office,” where I eat my Frosted Mini-Wheats and drink my orange juice while starting my day checking email.
I haven’t worn dress clothes in seven weeks, with the exception of the hour-and-a-half visit to the church on Sunday mornings. Shaving has been reduced to two or three times a week. As difficult as it may seem for some to believe, only on days that I have video conferences do I actually fix my hair. I’ve almost worn holes in all my pajama pants, and I have to be careful on those said video conference days to not be wearing the same t-shirt or sweatshirt on multiple days. Ahhh, the life of a teleworker.
With all this extra time to think, God gave me a startling realization. I need to change the way I specifically pray for my kids.
My prayers over the last seven weeks have been filled with the expected things…thanking God for His sovereignty, His grace, His mercy, and His protection. I was in the book of Job during my quiet time, and you know how the story begins. Job prays and offers sacrifices for his kids in the event that they may have offended God in some way. This is where I was convicted. You see, I’ve been praying all this time for physical, mental, and emotional protection from this virus for my kids. It’s not that there is anything inherently wrong with this prayer. It’s a completely legitimate prayer. What God emphasized to me is something else, though.
Rather than praying so fervently for protection against the evils and dangers of the world, why not include this prayer as well:
Lord, I pray not only for protection for my kids, but for their reaction when things go bad. I pray for their reaction to serious life challenges, when they face difficult, gut-wrenching decisions, when they don’t know which way is up. Lord, I pray that their reaction will be to glorify and fully trust in You. Not in themselves. Not in anything, except You.
Then it made sense to me. No matter how hard I try and maneuver, I will not be able to protect my children from all the harm the world and others will inflict on them throughout their lives. The days of me controlling every aspect of their lives is gone (if it truly ever existed.) While I may find categorizing them as adults questionable at times, let’s just say they are at the very least legally close to the definition of an adult. They will swim, but sometimes they may sink a little. That’s ok. What’s more important is, who do they turn to when times are good, but also when times are bad? I don’t want them to rely on me. I want them to rely on God. He’s the only One who will never disappoint them.
To most of you, this is nothing new. You came to this realization a long time ago. But for those of us a little late to the game, it was an eye opening conversation with God.
So the next time you offer prayers for your kids, your grandkids, nieces, nephews, or those annoying neighborhood kids who keep losing their toys in your yard, remember this: Pray that their reaction in dark, challenging times will be to glorify God. If that is their reaction in the bad times, everything else will have a way of working itself out.