For a Time I Cannot See
“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” Neil Postman
This past year I was part of a very enlightening verse-by-verse study on the book of Revelation (which I’d tended to steer clear of because of all of the ways I could really misinterpret it!). I think one of the biggest “aha” moments I had was the understanding that even if overt persecution doesn’t happen to me, it might happen to my children, or to their children … At any rate, I realized that my husband and I are the link for discipling future godly offspring, preparing them for a time that I could barely anticipate.
And the truth is, I know very little about the world for which I need to prepare my children. I don’t know if we will always be a prosperous nation (will the tables turn, and my children be the poverty-stricken ones that are now across the globe?), or if there will be a nation at all (at the risk of sounding unpatriotic, God alone “removes kings and establishes them”). I don’t know if they will always have the resources or comforts available to them now, or what tasks and paths the Lord has prepared for them—in their calling, their health, their own families.
So where is my comfort in all this uncertainty?
“In Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:16)
“He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
God knows who my children need to be. After all, my kids are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that [they] would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
But I also find this knowledge—or lack thereof—coloring my parenting in a healthy way. I don’t want my children to only be able to function in environments where things are going right—where they’ve got what they need, all their creature comforts are in place, and they live in relative peace. I want my kids to have what it takes to cross a jungle to get to an unreached people group, or to defend the rights of orphans and widows (lest there be any doubt, I can be a bit of an idealist!).
Just in case you’re wondering, I’m not planning on some weirdo boot camp where I only give my kids dried crusts of bread and they crawl beneath machine-gun fire after digging their own toilets! But I do want to think more about creating character that extends beyond comfort, that goes farther than now. Maybe I’ll just start with reading them stories about great heroes of the faith, or encourage them to give up some of their own privileges so that others can be blessed. Feedback welcome!
May our children be “oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3).