“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”Proverbs 22:6
Parenting is hard. When children are infants, they sleep day and nights and it’s hard to decipher their screaming cry. When they are toddlers, it takes thirty minutes to leave the house for a five-minute errand. When they are in grade school, the intensity of their emotions really cranks up and you’re back to trying to decipher tears. When they are teenagers, they would rather spend time with their 2,000 friends on Instagram than they would with you. When they are adults, you worry about their finances, their career or who they chose as their partner. Even on good days, you still find yourself asking “could I have done better?” Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you will ever do.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Is this a promise? Does this mean our kids will never turn away from Jesus? Pastor and author, Max Lucado, teaches that we have to be careful with this verse. That we shouldn’t interpret it to mean “If I put my kids on the right path, they’ll never leave it.” Can we show them the path? Yes. Can we force them to take it? No. This proverb doesn’t make that promise. Salvation is a work of God. It is the job of Christian parents to prepare the soil and sow the seed (pray with them, read the Bible with them, take them to church, speak God’s truth to them), but it is God who gives the growth (1 Cor 3:6).
I have only been a parent for nine years, but God has shown me over and over again that, despite my best efforts, worrying and controlling gets me nowhere. I HAVE to rely on God in all things. We have to surrender our kids’ futures over to God. He encourages us to persevere (Galatians 6:9). He brings peace (Isaiah 26:3). He makes all things work together for good (Romans 8:28). He has good things in store (Jeremiah 29:11).
Parenting is hard, but God promises to graciously equip us with what we need.