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For so much of our children’s lives, we are the conduits through which God works, protecting, guiding, comforting, and teaching our children even as the Holy Spirit draws them toward repentance and salvation. 

It’s a big job—a scary one at times—but it’s also a comfort to see and know in real time what God is doing and to understand, at least to some degree, what He’s working to accomplish at each age and stage of your children’s lives. 

There is fulfillment, too, in knowing that even when you can’t prevent hardship or heartache, you can be there to soothe, teach, and send them back out, the Father’s hand almost visible in theirs as a result of the prayers you’ve prayed in earnest and the faith you’ve extended in response to Who you know God to be and what you believe He can do.   

Then they leave. 

No longer mere minutes away, your children do most of their living and breathing and choosing beyond your field of vision, beyond your reach, making their own way in a world where the Enemy prowls, seeking to destroy them (1 Pet. 5:8).

It’s a helpless feeling—at least, it can be—one with which the royal official mentioned in John 4 was, no doubt, familiar. Separated from his critically ill son by more than a day’s journey, he did the only thing he could do for the son he loved from that distance.  He begged Jesus to intervene, to breathe life into his child.

And Jesus did. 

Of course, the official didn’t have any tangible proof of this in the moment—thank you, Lord, for smart phones and FaceTime—but he took Jesus at His word and began the long journey home, every step an exercise in patience, every thought a battle against doubt, every mile an obstacle to overcome before his faith would become sight. 

Can you imagine the agony? 

If you have grown children, my guess is yes.

Listen, I know, no matter how many prayers for protection I pray, my children are going to experience difficult things in life—Jesus promised as much (John 16:33)—and I don’t begrudge God the opportunity to glorify Himself through my children in whatever way He deems necessary.  I truly don’t.

How could I when He didn’t begrudge us His own Son? 

All I ask—I beg—is that God complete in my children what He began when they confessed their need for a Savior and surrendered their lives to His Lordship, keeping their faith strong to the end, for their good and His ultimate glory. 

Jesus will do it, of course.  He promised as much (John 6:37-40), but I’ve a long journey ahead as a parent, every step an exercise in patience, every thought a battle against doubt, every mile an obstacle to overcome before my faith becomes sight.

It can be excruciating.  

Even so, I will trust Him, not only because I really have no other choice—His being omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, and sovereign, things I most definitely am not—but also because I, like the royal official, believe God is faithful (1 Cor. 1:8-9).

That’s why we go to Him in the first place, isn’t it?