I have a confession. I’ve shied away from praying with my kids for things that I’m afraid He won’t grant. For example, if one of them is sick, we can pray together for them to get better because I’m pretty confident that either through God’s divine intervention or the amazing way that He designed our immune systems, they will get better. Either way, I believe God did it. And we can point it out to our children and say, “Look, we prayed and God did it.”
But now one of my children is struggling with an ongoing health problem. And I’m not really sure that she will get better – it may be something she has to live with. I’ve hesitated to pray with her for healing because I don’t know if that’s God’s will for her. As an adult, I know that sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it’s no, and sometimes it’s wait. Well, we all know how well kids do with waiting and with no. I don’t want her to be disappointed and think God doesn’t love her enough to grant her request.
But God is teaching me that He is big enough to handle her disappointment. I can’t make Him look any better by editing what we ask for or how I frame stories about Him from the Bible. I can’t make Him look any better because He is awesome. I need to let my kids experience God, not some watered down version of Him. Because if He has chosen them to be His own friends, His Spirit will be at work in them to make them see Him clearly.
I want to protect my children. I don’t want their lives to be hard. But to be honest, life can be hard. I want them to be able to do hard things. And I want them to know that God is up to the task of helping them through hard things. I want them to hold on to God’s promise that His thoughts towards them are loving, that His plans for them are good – even if they’re difficult in the moment. I want them to have genuine faith in Christ Jesus, not my version of Jesus. And I don’t want them to fall away because no one told them what following Christ would be like.
God doesn’t need me to manage His image. All of creation testifies to His goodness. For myself, God has reminded me that He cares about even the little things. He loves my kids more than I do. He loves me more than I love myself. He knows what is best for each of us and His ways are incomprehensible. He loves for me to share my heart with Him and He is trustworthy.
Belinda is a regular contributor to Pruning Princesses. She had a pet monkey when she was 8. In a past life, she was an adviser to college students. Now she’s taking an extended sabbatical to focus on her mom job. She lives in Michigan with her husband, three daughters – ages 10, 8, and 5 – and her son, who is 2. She enjoys travel, cooking, hanging out with her family, and the occasional game of competitive badminton. Read her other posts here.