Imagine the depth of fear and panic when you realize your only child is suddenly dangerously ill. You cannot think; you can barely breathe. You search your mind to think of what you did, or did not do, that may have contributed to this. You desperately claw through the fear to think of ways to fix it.
I heard a story about a child who fell and had a serious head injury. She came into the ER with her mother’s arms strapped around her. The mother was gasping for breath as she wept over her unconscious child. She was heard murmuring over and over, “I only turned my back for a few seconds.” The mother’s grip was like an iron vise around her daughter; she would not let go; she would not surrender her daughter to the care of others. The doctors had to sedate the mother, before they could work on her daughter.
Most parents understand the gut twisting fear that lodges in us when we see our children in danger or hurting. The age of our children does not reduce the concern and fear. They can be 3, 13, or 43, but the angst inside us remains.
The type of danger or troubles our children face, be it a physical health challenge; a learning disability; a mental health problem; bullying or other social relationship difficulties, and even spiritual confusion and lostness does not stop the desperate desire we have for the wholeness, well-being and safety for our children.
Whether we face these troubles short term or drawn out over time, I want to recommend bringing Jesus on the journey with our children.
God’s Heart Revealed
The scriptures reveal the heart and the integrity of Jesus for our children. Through out the years of caring for my child, or as a teacher in caring for the children of others, I have come to learn that the truths about Jesus’ love as revealed in scripture provide reassurance and hope for parents.
God’s heart for our children is spotlighted in the accounts of Jesus with children. The scriptures below reveal the value God holds for our children.
- Luke 18:16-17- But Jesus called the children to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
- Mark 9:36-37-Then He had a little child stand among them. Taking the child in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me welcomes not only Me, but the One who sent Me.”
- Matthew 18:10, 12 – “See that you do not look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father in heaven … What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?
- Verses 10 and 12, describe the value with which God regards our children. The value and regard for a child, and the value that would cause a shepherd to leave 99 sheep and go find the one lost sheep, is the same kind of valuing that God has for each one of our children. . As a parent, I can rest knowing that God has this kind of all out value for my child.
The Heart of God for Children – Revealed in the Actions of Jesus!
The scriptures above reveal God’s value and love for children. Jesus puts flesh on God’s love. Jesus interacted with children and their parents. He acted on their behalf and for their well-being. There are several accounts of Jesus helping parents and children.
One story we read demonstrates Jesus’ love and care as He uses His power to heal a boy whom He never saw or touched. In John 4:47-54, we see a parent approaching Jesus and asking Him to heal his son. At first, it seems that Jesus rebukes the man for wanting “to see Jesus actually healing his son.” We get this thought from Jesus’ response: “Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” Jn. 4:48
I love the fact that this man is not offended or put off by Jesus’ seeming rebuke, but rather, in faith the man presses the issue. The man (the royal official) said, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”
This is a parent who is desperate. He does not indulge himself in an emotional response to Jesus’ rebuke, or give into fear for his son; but rather, in faith and in fierce protective mode for his son, the man pushed Jesus further. I confess I might have been offended or intimidated by Jesus’ response and have given up.
This time Jesus replies, “Go, your son will live.” Interesting that Jesus seems to hand the man yet another challenge to his faith. In a sense, Jesus is saying: “I am not coming to your house to take your child’s hand and say prayers over him. Go home. I’ve got this. My power is not limited by time and space.”
Again, I would have felt dismissed, ignored, and said something like, “I can’t believe I came to you for help and you don’t even have enough sympathy for my situation that you won’t come to my home and try to help me.”
When Jesus tells the man to go home, the man does. He does not linger trying persuade Jesus to come with him. This man had seen what Jesus could do. He took it into his heart and mind and “believed.” So, when Jesus says, “Go home, your son will live.” This man took Jesus at His word, trusted, and went home. I pray for that kind of faith, the believing without seeing faith.
This parent in John 4, sets and example for me. Jesus is God. I can rest in the truth that Jesus loves my children and acts through time and space on their behalf when I ask Him.
Jesus Understands a Parent’s Fear
We see a similar interaction of Jesus on behalf of a parent and child in Mark 5:21-43. In this account, a father, by the name of Jairus, pursues Jesus amidst the throng in the market place. Jairus asks Jesus to come and to heal his daughter. Jairus is challenged by time; the need for Jesus to act quickly, and by the increasing crowds.
Jesus agrees to go to Jairus’ house, but on the way, Jesus stops to heal a woman in need. As I put myself in Jairus’ place I know I would have been filled with fear, anxiety and maybe even anger that Jesus would spend precious time on this woman instead of making haste to my house to heal my dying daughter.
I imagine Jairus pacing in place and huffing as Jesus turns around to find the one who touched Him in the crowd. The scripture does not reveal Jairus’ thoughts during this time, but it is likely that Jesus’ stopping to heal the woman was a challenge to his faith, yet at the same time it may have increased his faith, because Jairus sees the depth of love and compassion that Jesus has for one woman.
Another faith challenge is presented to Jairus as he arrives outside his home. He is greeted by people telling him not to bother Jesus any longer because there is no hope -His daughter is dead. But, Jesus, recognizing what a challenging time this is for these parents, tells Jairus not to listen to those voices. Jesus then raises the daughter from death and returns her to her parents.
When my child is in trouble with sickness, or relationships, or troubles with school work, or questioning his/her faith; what voices will I believe?
Draw Down Hope from Jesus
We can draw down faith and hope from the actions and love of Jesus. No matter what voices of fear, doubt, accusation, or blame call to us in our minds, we can choose to overrule these thoughts and feelings by the truth we read in scripture about Jesus, and by the truth we know about Him from our own experience with Him.
That truth is that Jesus is God, and He is ever willing and able to help us and our children as we experience different troubles in life. So, I want to encourage us to take a fresh look at the accounts of Jesus with parents and children in the scriptures, and bring the truths we see about Him into our lives and the lives of our children.