Thursday, April 21, 2011

Worries and prayers

It may seem foolish to a non-Christian, but as a Christian father, I pray over my children a lot, and even worry about them some. Actually, it's probably more accurate to say that I worry a lot, and pray some (and when I realize I'm worrying, I pray). It's not that my children are bad kids; in fact, they are probably better than average in their behavior for the most part. Instead, my worry is that they won't embrace the Christian faith with their whole hearts and lives. I take them to church, I pray with each of them every night I'm home, I read the Bible to them and we talk about the Lord "when we rise up and when we lie down, and while we walk along the road." But I still worry, and pray, over them.

My worry over them is a diverse thing. It has theological, cultural, experiential, and personal aspects. Theologically, I worry because I know that God has no grandchildren, only children. Thus there are no guarantees that just because Dad is a committed Christ follower that all my sons and daughters will be called into God's family as well; the Bible presents God's sovereign, holy love for people in much more complicated fashion than that. There are no guarantees that my children will find the narrow way. Moreover, I know that, whatever one thinks of particular aspects of our culture or how Christians ought to function within it, it can hardly be said that our culture supports and encourages passionate Christian faith in its members. Instead, where it is not openly hostile to Christianity, it is seductive and appealing. And the fact that it is so appealing means that I have lots of experiences of people I know and knew who grew up in Christian homes who nevertheless today have nothing to do with Jesus. Finally, since I do believe in the narrow road and skinny gate that Jesus taught, to me it would be an unspeakable tragedy if they wound up separated from God (and me) for eternity.

And so I pray, and worry, and pray some more. In the process, I am learning to trust God and to understand the grace the Bible talks about and that I believe in. There are still no guarantees, and if my children one day walk away from Jesus, I will mourn deeply. But I still have to follow and trust Him, even with my children, even in the absence of certainty. I hope someday I pass the test and trust Him regardless of the outcome.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Your children are blessed. They have both a mother and a father who are living out their faith in front of them. And they have 4 grandparents who pray for them as well as many aunts and uncles. How fortunate we are to know that God loves them and wants a deep relationship with each of them even more than we do.