In the last post, I mentioned the crucial role of parents in protecting their children’s and family destiny. One of the realities of Christian parenting in an adverse and hostile culture is the reality that the word “no” seems to be said exponentially more than the word “yes”. I wish it were not so, but the sad reality is that our adversary, the devil, is relentless in seeking to detour and destroy the destiny and purpose of God’s people. That being said, anytime we can say “yes”, especially to the Will of God, is all the more important and critical. We protect our family’s future, as well as facilitate the purposes and callings of God.
I remember when it was time for my oldest son to go to college and prepare for his future and what the Lord was leading him into. He was a great basketball player and student and actually received some scholarship money from a small, in-state Christian college, as well as the normal state scholarships and incentives which accompany an in-state school. The scholarship money was needed as we had two more college bound children behind him and tuition rates these days are absolutely obscene. It was in the middle of the second semester of his first year when he came home for a visit and told us that he felt God was calling him to something different, but in order for us to understand it we had to watch a DVD which “spoke” to him. As Christian parents we were excited and curious. It should be natural for a Christian parent to desire their children’s obedience to the Will of God. We sat down with him to watch the DVD, anticipating the same epiphany he received from the video. The DVD was the first UNITED band production from Hillsong Church in Australia. Honestly, as I watched the video there was nothing that I remotely connected to. I wasn’t against Hillsong, but I certainly wasn’t receiving the epiphany. As I turned around in my chair to start a conversation with my son, I saw tears literally running down his face. He said, “I believe God is calling me to go to Australia and study for the ministry.”
Credit goes to my wife for picking up on something that I wasn’t initially receiving. As a dad, all I could process at the moment was the expense of getting people back and forth to Australia, living expenses in a foreign country, tuition, several years of study, greatly diminished opportunities for visits, and no scholarships. For me, it all boiled down to dollars and cents. Gratefully, before something insensitive or alienating left from my lips that was generated by my pragmatic mind, my wife said, “Don’t blow this moment. God is doing something in him and we need to steward this moment correctly”. I’m glad I listened. After much prayer and a walk of faith, my son graduated from Hillsong Leadership College three years later and literally has an incredible network of friends, colleagues, and pastors from all over the world which God has used in amazing ways in his life. Yes, there was great sacrifice on all our parts. However, we received divine “scholarships” on numerous occasions which more than made up for the ones we lost from the state. Hudson Taylor said it best, “God’s Will done God’s way will never lack God’s resource; where God guides, He provides.” The lesson I learned from this incident which was then applied to our succeeding children was this…
My job as a parent is not to hinder or frustrate the Will of God in my family, but rather facilitate it in any way I can.
Hear this carefully…
This is not to be construed as simply giving your kids anything they want or desire under the label of “the Will of God”. This demands prayer and a true sense of what God’s call may be in the individual. My family knows that dad will move heaven and earth to say “yes” to the Will of God in their lives. I will also be as equally determined to say “no” to those things that might detour it. If my children seek to walk in a way contrary to the Will of God, I am under no obligation to finance it or facilitate it. However, should they pursue the Will of God which has been revealed through prayer and counsel, then I shall partner with them in seeing that good Will come to pass. That is not control, but rather stewardship of the mystery that dwells within them.
I have never forced nor directed my children to follow me into the ministry. I understand how challenging this life can be and without a direct sense of “call” from the Lord Himself, I would tell anyone to avoid full-time ministry if at all possible. I have asked all my children to sincerely pray about their future and what the Lord might have for them. My wife and I have prayed with them and for them as well, wanting to be sure that their steps are guided in that direction. This is a significant point. I would caution parents to be exceedingly careful about dousing the dreams God may give to your kids. I have watched the Lord legitimately call young men and women into His field of service only to be discouraged or dissuaded by their parents when the young people share their testimony concerning that call. I understand that the Lord can use doctors, lawyers, contractors, laborers, CEO’s and virtually every career choice. I understand that those careers have greater opportunity to prosper and perhaps even appear more stable. However, as parents, our guidance must be in tune with the Will of God and not necessarily the best career fit for the current economy. Please note the emphasis on the verse below…
“Train up a child in the way HE SHOULD GO, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Proverbs 22:6 NKJV
We do not train up children in the way WE WANT THEM TO GO -or- the most pragmatic way to go, but rather in the way God has called them to go. This, of course, assumes a biblical worldview in that path, but each child is to be challenged to find the Will of God and as a parent I want to be a cheerleader for their journey to fulfill that mandate. My wife and I have navigated these waters with my youngest son and daughter as well. We have prayed and encouraged them as they sought the Will of God concerning training and education. My youngest son felt led to do an internship for two years immediately out of high school to explore the possibilities of being “called” to the ministry. He then attended a broadcasting school to learn the skills of media. Finally, he went back to college and received his Bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting. His was not a normal or traditional route to a career, but he now works as a financial officer in a fantastic local church using all the experiences and skills he learned along the way. God’s Will is not always a straight and perfect path. As Christian parents we have the wisdom to understand how God’s Will might unfold and could encourage him all along the way.
Rebuilding the Christian Family is a corporate commitment to finding and obeying the Will of God in your family. Are you challenging every member of your family to dream about their future and seek the Will of God? Are you cheering the Will of God coming to pass in their life? Are you facilitating God’s plan or are you the nay-sayer in their pursuit and obedience? America is collapsing because the American Christian family is pursuing it’s own way and pleasures. The Christian family needs to reignite the family altars and seek and obey the Will of God in their lives.