But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. —Isaiah 40:31
The Bible frequently describes the Christian life using the
language of warfare. We are to overcome evil with good. We are to fight the
good fight. We are to put on the full armor of God. The Word is the sword of
the Spirit. This imagery is not given to alarm us but to remind us that the
world around us is not a friendly place for Christians. But while the world is
not friendly, God himself provides refuge and encouragement.
The task of parenting is indeed a daunting one. It is a huge
responsibility that can be overwhelming. Humanly speaking, it can even be
frustrating. Where do we turn for support and relief?
In the last post we looked at Psalm 119:32. That passage pictures
the child of God running joyfully and freely along the path of life as he
embraces the commands of God. Often, this is not the attitude that first comes
to mind about parenting. Renewed strength may seem like a fantasy to parents engaged
in the daily struggle of confronting children with their need of a Savior.
Where do you begin? Realize that your own relationship with
God must not be static, but growing. Tedd and Margy Tripp put it this way in Instructing a Child’s Heart:
The power of the gospel is not
just for our children; it is for us. The power of grace in the gospel will
cleanse us, forgive us, change us internally and empower us to be all that we
need to be to instruct the hearts of our children… Come to Christ each day
knowing that you can do all things through him who gives you strength. (187)
Recall this observation from the last post: if you think the Word of God is restrictive,
your children will think the Word of God is restrictive. If you act as if
obedience to Christ is a heavy burden, then you will not be the encouragement
to your family that God calls you to be. If following Christ is drudgery to
you, then others will have no desire to serve the God that you serve.
Before you pray for God to impact your children, you must
pray for him to impact you. Flee to his Word to find refuge and strength in
God. If your grasp of the greatness and glory of God is based only on vague
memories from past sermons, don’t expect your children to be pleased at the
prospect of obeying God.
Your appreciation and awe for God and his Son must increase,
not decrease—God’s greatness must be more than an academic fact. It must be so
much more than that! God’s greatness must be a relational anchor that gives you
stability, providing strength and confidence for the challenges of parenting. Think
of passages such as Isaiah 40 that speak of the power and greatness of God. For
me, such passages as Deuteronomy 32:44-47;Psalm 46; Psalm 103; Psalm 139;
Isaiah 40; Job 38-42; Eph. 3:16-20; Romans 8; and Revelation 21-22 help me to
grow in my appreciation for the greatness and glory of God. No doubt there are
passages that you can add to these. Why not take a moment to do so right now? As
your children grow older, so must your own appreciation for God. If you are not
growing in your amazement and wonder at God, the new challenges you face with
your children will overwhelm you.
Let me know what passages help you to appreciate God and to
grow in your awe of him. In the next post we will take a look at the glory of
God and the price of gas.