Today begins a four-part series on trusting our kids to God, each inspired by one of my own four kids. Today, let’s talk about letting their safety be his job, not ours.
The moon was up and full, shining on us on the drive to the airport. Why is 4:30 a.m. at the airport even an option? I was taking my eldest son to get on a plane with friends and classmates and great chaperones to head for a 12-day trip of a lifetime in the UK and Paris.
While we stood in line, waiting to check his bag, a little old lady wandered into our group. “I’m 82 and don’t fly often but I’m flying standby and don’t know what to do.” She had a scrap of paper in her hand with a handwritten confirmation number. I offered to help, walking her to the automatic kiosk and helping her get what she needed. Later she thanked me and asked where all these kids were going. I smiled and enthusiastically told her they are theatre students headed for 12 days to the Capitals of the British Isles and Paris. Her reply with a somber look, “Isn’t that were all that scary stuff is going on?” Blink. Blink. I wondered, How exactly do you respond to that as you put your child on a plane?
As I drove away from the airport I realized something: I was not worried about the “scary stuff.” Why? I mean, the world is a scary place and some of that ugliness has hit right where my son is headed. The reason I could hug him and wave goodbye as he walked to security very simply boils down to this: I trust God with my son.
A lifetime of serving him and learning about who he is, of seeing him provide for me and care for me has all taught me He can be trusted. One of the most basic and simple foundations of my faith is that I trust God.
It’s the only coherent thought I could form when my husband died. It’s how I put my 12-hours-old infant onto a medical flight and into the care of doctors I’d never met. (I’ll share that story next week.) It’s how I’ve wrestled through tough times in life and been amazingly thankful at good times. And this past week it was how I put my 18-year-old son onto a plane to enjoy amazing things and grow up a little more far from home.
See here’s the thing, we cannot guarantee our children’s safety all the time. We can lock them indoors and pad every surface but life still happens. We can accompany them everywhere they go but in addition to not being healthy for their development, it still doesn’t guarantee no bad thing will happen. Life is hard. Stuff happens. Jesus even said, “In this world you will have troubles, but take heart, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
That verse includes a promise that Jesus wins in the end, by the way. But God doesn’t stop there. He promises to use ALL things for the good of those who love him. (Romans 8:28) That doesn’t mean He guarantees us a pain-free, “safe” life. Not once does He promise that. But He does promise us His love and His care though whatever comes. Trusting God with my kids’ safety means I remember a few things:
God loves my kids far more than I ever could.
God promises to use whatever comes for our good.
God has given us this life as a gift to be experienced and to use whatever comes to make us more like Him.
This doesn’t just apply to me and my kids. God feels the exact same way about you and your kids. God can be trusted with our lives and with our children’s lives–even when it feels scary.
We still have the responsibility to care for our kids and make wise choices. We don’t “trust God” so much that letting them play in the street is now fine or juggling knives is a faith exercise. But we cannot let fear of “what if” paralyze us. We use our best judgement on what is reasonable and trust God with the rest. We cannot live in a bubble when God gave us the big wide world in this life.
When we show our children that we bravely face today and tomorrow in a world that can seem scary, we demonstrate for them that God can be trusted. When we don’t let fear make our decisions or limit how we interact with this amazing, big, beautiful world, we show our kids that we trust God.
Today if you are finding fear making your parenting decision, I encourage you to write down all that makes you afraid. Then spend time in prayer, handing those fears to God. Ask Him to make you brave. Ask him to protect your kids when you can’t. And ask him to show you how to trust your kids’ safety to Him. There is such freedom to be found in trusting Him with our kids. And such a beautiful lesson we will teach them, equipping them to boldly go out into the world.
Have you struggled with a fear that has limited what your kids do or how you face the future? If you feel brave enough to share in the comments, I’d love to pray for you.