I’ve been thinking lately about the Proverb, “Train a child up in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” We all know parents who are godly examples, prayed for their children daily, raised them to know Jesus and yet…
Tony Dungy, devout Christian, sportscaster and former NFL coach, lost his 18-year-old son to suicide. Author Ernest Hemingway’s parents were strong believers and yet Hemingway also killed himself. I have cried and prayed for amazing, loving and mature Christian friends who raised their children in the way should go,
Does it matter if I pray for my kids if wiser, more mature and faith-filled believers have children who have left this life in tragic ways? How can I tell my children and the women I teach to look for answers and direction in life in the Bible when it seems sometimes life contradicts Scripture?
After praying about what I’m supposed to do with Proverbs 22:6 and the reality of what I see around me, I’ve had a few thoughts.
1. I Know Very Little. When the show Friends went off the air I was devastated. I missed hanging out every Thursday night with Rachel, Joey and Phoebe. Although The Friends weren’t my friends and I knew nothing about them in real life, I thought I did. My perception of people, situations and tragedies are just that, my perception. I can’t determine if prayer works or if the Bible is true based solely on what I see, think and believe. As I reconcile hard faith questions, it’s both humbling and comforting to remember my limited “smallness” and God’s unlimited “bigness.”
2. I Have Nothing Else. When my son got his driver’s license, my daughter drove across the state with her girlfriend, when my Chinese son flew to Beijing – prayer was the only thing that helped my fears. As the mom of four teenagers, prayer is all I have. I don’t know how prayer works exactly, but I love and fear God enough to trust I’m better off praying for my children than failing to do so.
3. I Have Nothing Better. Not long ago Tony Dungy talked about losing his son. “Why does God allow pain in our life? Because we are loved by God and the pain allows us to head back to our Father.” I don’t like when it seems life contradicts God’s Word or when my prayers go unanswered. But life without Jesus has even more contradictions, fewer guarantees and something worse than either; hopelessness.
Whenever I’ve struggled and prayed through the hard parts of being a Christ follower, it seems the resolution always comes back to Hope. Hope in Christ is why praying gives me peace, why God being God changes things and why I will continue to trust the Word of God as truth.
Yes, life is hard and there are no guarantees, and yet…
“My only hope is in You.” Psalm 39:7