Are you preparing your children for a mirage?

Posted on May 1, 2013 · Posted in Parenting, Shaping Influences, World View

We all talk about what we are going to do tomorrow, or this weekend or next year. We talk about plans for our kids’ college. We provide music lessons, sports practices, and vocational training. We have college funds and plan for things we want them to have as adults. We provide school to prepare them for the road ahead. We encourage them to be healthy. All of this is good and necessary, with one condition.

Do we also tell our kids that all that we are planning for has no more substance than the morning mist? Or do we give them the impression that we know what is going to happen tomorrow or the day after? Do we earnestly tell them that the tomorrow we are planning for is no more certain than a mirage?

The most basic truth your children need to know about tomorrow is that it will happen as the Lord wills, not as we plan. This means that we must realize that God will do what he has planned regardless of our plans. This is not the course of uncertainty, but of taking into account the reality that this world is God’s and he does with it as he has planned.

We have no promise that tomorrow will be what we expect it to be. Indeed, we must always qualify our planning with the truth that our plans will only take place if the Lord wills it to be so. Do your children know this truth? Do they see you planning accordingly? Failing to grasp this truth will yield a life of bitter disappointment. A knee injury that ends a sports career is not random. A move because of a lost job is not cruel fate. Terror or natural disasters may happen, God is not absent.  Don’t hide the uncertainty of the future from your children. Encourage them with certainty of God’s will.

The Holy Spirit says that if we fail to acknowledge this dependence upon the Lord’s will our plans are arrogant and evil. Don’t prepare your children for a mirage. Prepare them to depend upon the Lord’s will as if their life depended on it; because it really does.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. 

James 4:13-16

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.