Every parent wants the best for their children and those after them. If you could impart two things to them you KNOW they’d have and/or embrace, what would they be? For me, the first is salvation in Jesus Christ. Second, for them to be able to suffer joyfully in a manner that glorifies God. Here’s why I desire the second…
One day our children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren will encounter adversity (Philippians 1:29; Matthew 5:10-12). It is certain they will have to deal with being treated unfairly. They will experience deep disappointment. They might fail on a level no one could foresee. The level to which they suffer could be deeply profound. No parent likes thinking those things, but it is reality. The questions are: Will they be able to handle adversity? Will they be equipped to suffer in a manner which glorifies God? Will they have the strength of spirit so as to not be crushed to powder?
As parents we have a few years to get them ready for what is coming. God has given us a window of opportunity to prepare them for the storms of life. The wise parent will do their best to get their child ready for dark days knowing they will pass those lessons to their children and children’s children. God gives us as parents the chance to influence generations to come to glorify God.
It is written, “That you may tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever” (Psalm 89:1, 4). The call for Christian parents toward their children is to shift the child’s dependence from them to God. The best lessons parents teach their children are to love, trust, honor, rely on, and believe God in all circumstances. While everyone else will fail them sooner or later to some degree, God will never fail them. The way children learn to trust God, to honor God in the midst of adversity, is by watching their parents live out those before them. This lifestyle is commanded by God as found in what is called The Shema.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
God’s will is for Christian parents to raise Godly children (Malachi 2:15). This is the first and most important call in being a parent. Raising children who are godly is more important than their athletic superiority, intellect, who they marry, their career, or anything else. Raising Godly children is the way they will best handle all the other things in life. Raising Godly children helps them more than anything else a parent can do regarding this life and the one to come (1 Timothy 4:8).
Thus begs the question: What are we doing as parents to prepare our children to glorify God in a life that will include disappointment, adversity, and difficulty?
After a child’s salvation, the most important thing parents should impart to their children is the ability to live life… no matter what happens to them… to glorify God. Do the best you can to help them to be able to process life’s difficulties in a manner that honors God. Build into their spirit the ability to “count it all joy when (they) encounter various trials” (James 1:2-4). How? By modeling the kind of life you want them to embrace in submission to God.