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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Can we trust Him with our children?

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."--II Timothy 1:7

It's a mother's worst nightmare: a gunman walks onto a stage in a university lecture hall and, without warning, opens fire.

As any mom knows who has hugged their son or daughter good-bye in front of a college dorm, it's hard enough to let go of our children without the paralyzing fear that we could be putting them directly in harm's way.

But as the tragic NIU shootings last week showed us graphically, the nightmare can come true.

Northern Illinois University is less than fifty miles from where I live, so the tragedy affected many people who listen to the radio station where I work. As I blogged earlier, my radio co-host and I opened the phone lines the day after the shootings to allow listeners to talk about it and offer words of comfort and support.

We also received a host of e-mails from parents thanking God that their own NIU student had been spared.

But five sets of parents--actually six, counting the shooter--are having to deal with awful loss.

I could go on and on about the sovereignty of God (in which I do firmly believe), and tell you that our children are safe in His hands (which I also strongly believe.) But the truth is, that doesn't mean nothing bad will ever happen to our children. That doesn't mean that tragedy won't strike, and that our worst nightmare won't come true.

Years ago, I interviewed Karen Burton Mains about her book, The Fragile Curtain. Karen wrote:

"I have lived all my life behind a fragile curtain, formed by the small worlds I know: backyard worlds, the familiar ground of home and work...Illusion is my curtain's name, the illusion that all is well, that I am safe. Neither is it mine alone. . . . "

The sudden life-threatening illness of one her children forced Mains to realize how easily that "fragile curtain" can be torn.

All of that is true. But we don't have to live in fear. As hard as it is--and I don't believe we can do it in our own strength--we have to give that fear to the Lord. We have to trust Him that His ways and His plans are best. We have ask Him to help us deal with that spirit of fear.

An old Twila Paris song talks about the question of trusting God:

Do I trust You, Lord?
Does the robin sing?
Do I trust You, Lord?
Does it rain in spring?
You can see my heart,
You can read my mind,
And You got to know
That I would rather die
Than to lose my faith
In the One I love.
Do I trust You, Lord?
Do I trust You?

Can we trust Him with our children?

Without a doubt, yes.

Father, help me realize that I can trust you with my children--their plans, their hopes, their dreams, their very lives, their eternal futures. Help me not to fear. Help me to trust in You. Thank you for loving my children so much more than even I do. --Amen.

--Cindy Swanson

Visit Cindy's personal blog:


Blogger Mocha with Linda said...

We CAN trust God. He is good. And He is sovereign. He holds us and our children in the palm of His hand. Even when He allows one to be taken away for reasons beyond our finite comprehension. His ways are above our ways and He is working out a greater good that is above all we can ask or think. He promises to be with us always, even in the midst of the storm.

Thanks for this great devotion. I can only imagine what it must be like to be in the midst of such tragedy and listen to and support those who are suffering.

February 20, 2008 at 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

What an inspirational message.
Everyday I am amazed at God ability to speak directly to us through others. Although the circumstances that surround me are not as tragic as the shootings, this message still spoke to my heart, just about being a mom, and the struggles that I children face in the process of growing up.
Thank You for sharing.

February 20, 2008 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Thanks so much, Cindy. This is so timely and relevant.

February 20, 2008 at 10:24 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Thank you for this thoughtful reflection. I must try to not "hold so tightly"--He is in control:)

February 20, 2008 at 10:34 AM  
Blogger Chris @ Come to the Table said...

"Can we trust Him with our children?"

As I prepare today for a class on parenting that I am facilitating, I have been asking myself this exact question.

I know the answer is "YES!" But do I actually live it?

Thanks Cindy for sharing this post today. I needed to be reminded of some things.


February 20, 2008 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Hello, This all rings too true to me. I send a son off to high school every day and I have another in his first year of college out of state! I try so hard to "Let go and let God!"

February 20, 2008 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Praise and Coffee said...

Very beautifully put Cindy.
It's hard one...knowing that our God is faithful and trustworthy, yet we live in this fallen world and are not immune to it's dangers.

I still choose faith. I still choose to trust Him.

He'll get us through the darkest storms.

Thank you Cindy,

February 20, 2008 at 3:19 PM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such a lovely post.

February 20, 2008 at 4:17 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

Having two friends who have lost children, I can say there is an indescribable victory for those who have faced the worst thing that could ever happen and chose to hold fast to God in spite of it.

My prayers are with these families..


February 20, 2008 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger Darnelle said...

It's true. If there is anything that will push the limits of our faith, or cause us to question His sovereignty and goodness, it's parenthood. I wrote a post on the 13th - for myself as much as anyone else - about God's sovereignty and goodness. With 5 children, I have to remind myself often about Who it is that I serve and how faithful He will always be. You are right, I have to continually remind myself, that He loves them even more than I do.

I pray that God will bless you and give great wisdom as you attempt to comfort and support those whose faith is being tested.

February 20, 2008 at 11:19 PM  

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