The Calamity of Progeny

There are interesting similarities between man and the world around him.  I was recently speaking with a friend about how we see the wisdom of God in nature.  I recounted to her how the Tern, a ground nesting bird, endeavors for the preservation of their young.  From the incubation period, around a month, to the first days of life, until flight capabilities develop, the parent terns work in tandem to ward off predators.  All birds have predator issues, but with ground nesters the threat is from all quarters.  I am blessed to be able to observe these birds give there all for their young every spring, and am always amazed at the self sacrificial love they have for their helpless progeny.  Mothers lie flat and still over their eggs when a threat is detected.  The father is always near to act as a decoy, to feign injury, and lure the threat in his direction.  Never sleeping, always vigilant, and yet never showing a hint of despair at the perilous position their creator has placed them in.  Their entire continuation of the species is a calamity in the making.

The plight of the Tern bears a remarkable resemblance to my recent topic because as human parents, particularly Christian parents, the raising of our children can be fraught with danger.  Sickness, worldly influence, lack of achievement or willingness to thrive, and many other fears assault our weak faith all along the process.  We doubt the wisdom of our Creator in placing us in the position of rearing young and despair over what will become of our brood.  I can’t look into the little red eyes of these Terns and see what is going through there minds, but I think I can assume they don’t fret over their predicament.

Edward Lawrence, in the second chapter of his treatise, calls having unsaved children a calamity.  We don’t use that term often in our vernacular, but we have the wisdom of Solomon to give us quite an accurate description of the calamitous nature of our unregenerate offspring.  “To have a fool for a son brings grief; there is no joy for the father of a fool.” (Prov. 17:21)  “A foolish son is his father’s ruin.” (Prov. 19:13)  The very fact that children can bring pain and grief to a parent who, like the bird, loves them sacrificially, is the very definition of evil.  A child can never in a lifetime repay a parent for their love and devotion.  The human equivalent to Christ on the cross is the ill treatment of a parent.  I think back to my own parents and how I treated them.  Though they are vane regrets, I cannot help but see what grief my foolishness caused my parents and be struck by the evil of my  disregard of the fifth commandment.

“He who robs his father and drives his mother out is a son who brings shame and disgrace.” (Prov. 19:26)  How ever you envisage the picture portrayed by this verse the ugliness is apparent.  For parents to bear this pain is heart rending.  Parents see fear.  Fear of great sin lurking  in the future of the child if their ways are not mended can be paralyzing.  God’s heavy judgement waiting to be unleashed leaves the parent constantly in fear of what might befall the child around the next bend in the road.  Then there is the constant horror of eternal damnation as the last stop on their voyage.

Then there is anger.  Parents experience anger toward the children for willful disobedience.  We fail to recognize the fallen condition that drives the rebellion.  The fact that their rebellion might provoke God’s wrath has no affect on them.  Our righteous indignation on God’s behalf is but a ruse for our own affront.

In the end there is sorrow.  The parents knowledge of God makes their heart bleed to see children scorn and despise the glory of Christ.  Fear, anger, and sorrow are interchangeable emotions for the parent.  I once heard someone say that every example of anger was proceeded by fear and followed by sorrow.

Search your own experience and identify this emotional pendulum.   If you are new to the journey, look more closely at the object of your care.  Evolving in their tiny being are the very mechanisms for your own calamity.  If you are veteran parents you are well read on the subject.  For parents to have unregenerate children may truly be described as a calamity, for it is a most difficult trying of our faith.  However, it is a case for the application of God’s direction see the bright side.  Our hope comes in the purification promised by these refining fires, from which we will be made stronger.  To have our reliance on ourselves dissolved and our trust in God renewed is a blessing.  To become dependent on God’s parenting and not our own is the height of accomplishment.

“Post tenebras lux,” after darkness light, was the call of the protestant reformation.  This could also be the mission statement of Christian parents, for out of the darkness of fiery trials we look to the means of Grace for the light of God’s revelation on how to bear up under the strain.  In the next post we will apply the “Pollyanna” approach to parenting.

 

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The Larger Issue

In the Reformed and Covenant Theology community we rely heavily upon the various confessions, compiled by counsels of Churchmen centuries before our time, to provide guidance into what are the truths that scripture teaches.  Edward Lawrence preached during the time of the publication of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646).  His subsequent run in with the Church of England was an outworking of his strong belief in what was taught by these doctrinal positions.  His hope for the eventual conversion of his children was bolstered by what the confession taught concerning baptism.  His strong desire for his children to claim their inheritance in Christ was dependant on baptism, infant baptism.  Chapter 25 Section 2 tells us that according to scripture the visible church, those who profess true religion, includes our children.  From the days of the Apostolic Church until the middle of the 16th century, the mass majority of the Christian Church baptized their infant children as an expression of their promised inclusion in the Body of Christ.  It was not until the late 1500’s that the Anabaptist doctrines of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands began spread and the idea of not baptizing infants was popularized.

Without going into the details of the confessional position on baptism, for the purposes of encouragement to parents, one point is clear.  The efficacy of baptism is not tied to the moment it is administered (WCF 28.6).  Rather it is the promise signified by baptism that God’s Grace will be conferred in His appointed time according to the counsel of His will.

If you don’t come from a confessional background you may tend not to place much importance in these old reformed confessions.  What did they know back then anyway, right?  They did not have Wikipedia or all of the bible commentaries we have today.  Well, how about Peter?  Speaking under the inspiration of God,  Peter told the early church, “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off; for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38,39)  He told the Jewish believers to turn from your belief in your Jewish traditions, be baptized, and like you would circumcise your 8 day old baby boy, baptize all you children as a sign and seal of God’s covenant with Abraham and all his generations. On top of that we are going to tell the whole world that this same promise that was given to you in the old covenant, will be given to those of the gentile world whom God will call to repentance and faith.  We are going to baptize them and their children too as a sign and seal of God’s Covenant faithfulness to them.

This was some radical stuff for these early Jewish believers to grasp.  Radical in the sense that Peter was introducing the concept of a new sign and seal.  Not radical in the sense of their inclusion in the covenant of grace.  They were very familiar with God’s covenants to the patriarchs in their ancestral tree.  They were also very aware that God used these recipients of his Covenant of Grace as examples of exceptions to his covenants.  You might say, God used the children of these renown covenant characters as examples of what being outside of his covenant looked like.

The first members of “Grace Church” were Adam and Eve. Their children would have been the first covenant children.  However, in God’s providence, in order to accomplish his sovereign will, he chose only to include one of the boys in the covenant.  Not because of anything Abel had done nor would do, but rather for His own Glory, Abel would inherit the promise given to his parents.  Cain did not just go bad, or fall away, or fail to keep the law.  He was never of the family of God.  In 1 John 3:12 the warning to the visible Church is “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one.

There were none as faithful as Noah among the prediluvian world.  Genesis 6:8-9 made this plain saying, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time and he walked with God.”  This was said of him before he took the abuse of a scornful public for building an ark, and before he floated around for weeks without complaining about the cruise amenities.  He was later the recipient of another of God’s Covenant promises.  But you know the story.  God made an example of Ham as the one son who was cursed of God.  You might think that Ham’s indiscretion was not worthy of cursing him and his posterity forever.  That wasn’t the point.  Ham was never in the Covenant.

Isaac greatly loved Esau. He was his prized son and the heir to his family heritage.  However, God hated Esau.  God hated Esau and loved Jacob and made that decision based not upon their deeds but upon his right to choose to whom he will show mercy. Romans 9 is the go to scripture in matters of the sovereignty of God in the election of his followers.  Esau is used as the example of God’s right to choose not depending upon anything man can do.

David, the man after God’s own heart, was the father of Absalom, another fraternal murderer.  Absalom, like the others, was not included in the covenant family of God.  All their exclusion being left to the hidden wisdom of God, and not because he foreknew their actions or inactions.

All of the parents of these children who were outside of the redeeming grace of God must have been full of grief and bitterness.  We must all consider the possibility that our children may be in this category.  Though, looking at the larger issue, here we have more cause to believe that God will bring them to himself.  God does nothing arbitrarily.  He did not make a promise to grow his kingdom through the Church so that he may then cause you to doubt him by placing more weight on the examples of those he has shown us.  In fact, if you want to offend the righteousness of God in the most vile way, then doubt the righteousness in his promise keeping ability.  You are screaming mutiny.

We may be bitter, we may be grieved, but we may not doubt.  We will go through a myriad of emotions over the course of our lives as parents.  We may even see signs of the working of the Spirit in our children and then have some great disappointment when those signs fade.  Once again, we must not doubt God’s promise to work, relying on our lack of decerning vision.  If you are truthful with yourself in looking back on your own journey, you cannot declare the point of your rebirth.  If you can you are rare.  You may recount a time in which you discovered marks of your faith, but that may have been some time after God breathed life into your dead heart.   The mystery of God’s work of regeneration is outside of our realm of comprehension.  Likewise trying to weigh the behavior of our children to determine their conversion can be a roller coaster endeavor.  To engage in the work of identifying the presence of regenerative work by the Holy Spirit in the heart of your children, young or old, is folly.  Rather, focus your energy in identifying the truths of scripture that tell of God’s faithfulness to his promises.  I am not saying, “let go and let God.”  On the contrary, take hold of God’s word, wrestle with these concepts, and extract from these the power of His righteousness in His covenant keeping.  Simultaneously, never stop evangelizing your children, for they are the heirs of your inheritance, and co-heirs with Christ.  Treat them as such.

A Case for Grief and Bitterness

We live in an age of incredible advances in technology. To contrast the changes over the last one hundred years to those of the previous century is astounding.  These advances have had ripple effects that have changed the way society does nearly everything.  However, some things never change.  Godly parents love for their children is the same now as it was in the beginning.  Nearly three thousand years ago King Solomon spoke his wisdom for our benefit.  The Proverbs are full of truths which are just as, if not more, relative today as ever before.  Edward Lawrence, who I introduced in the last post, lived in a relatively modern age (mid 17th century) as compared to Solomon, however he saw the contemporary wisdom and truisms that the Proverbs supplied.  Three hundred and fifty years later many of us today can empathize with Lawrence and King Solomon when we read Proverbs 17:25 “A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him.”

I love the style of instruction from the Puritan era.  When these men taught and preached they did so with authority.  I can’t imagine these men sitting around in a circle with their pupils asking them, “What does this passage mean to you?  How does this make you feel?”  They were really good at laying out the facts.  Lawrence began the lesson in his treatise “Parent’s Groans Over Their Wicked Children”  with a few explicative points.  He reminds us that both genders are capable of fitting into the category of wicked and ungodly, sons and daughters.  Secondly it is ordinary for godly parents to have wicked children.  I remember the moniker PK, preacher’s kids, tagged on the infamous children of the local ministers. For some reason preachers seemed to have the worst kids, or was it that for some reason we expect theirs to be good little saints, like ours of course.  Lastly he shows that the terms wicked and foolish can be used interchangeably in scripture when identifying the unregenerate or unsaved.  From Lawrence’s perspective you most likely have wicked children.  Here is a quote that struck me as a wonderful tool to help us measure the climate of our children’s condition.  Lawrence says, “Wicked children think themselves wise, wiser than parents, masters(teachers, bosses, coaches, etc.), or ministers.” Try that on for size.  How does that fit?

Now for some of you I am not presenting any new information here.  Those who have a good handle on the nature of man outside of the life giving  power of the Holy Spirit can easily digest the fact that little Johnny most likely is dead in his trespasses and sin. Still it is hard to see our children as wicked or dead.  If we would choose one of scripture’s terms we might rather use foolish.  However, as I mentioned in my post last week, “I’m Not the Villain Here,”  foolishness is not a benign condition.  God uses foolishness to identify the worst of the worst in those whom he has given over to their desires in Romans 1:18-32.  For the sake of time I’ll let you decide if you want to read this passage and see if you would list your children in the same category as Paul does when he characterized even disobedient children as wicked fools.  Just saying!

Lawrence loved his children.  All the work that went into this booklet was originally intended as an inheritance for his children, to give them a legacy to remember what he desired most for them.  He did not speak of their success in the world, their education, nor their comforts.  His desire was to see them enter the Kingdom of Heaven on the judgement day.

So as we push ahead, and I do mean push because of the dreadful nature of the topic, I challenge you not to give up on my efforts.  After darkness, light must be our reward.  Covenant Theology does not teach that God will save every child of every saint.  But it does teach that God generally elects from within his tribe those who will serve him.  In the next post I will give some examples of God’s exceptions to the rule from scripture and the lessons he teaches through them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tha tbeing said

The Promise Keeper

In the previous post I mentioned that I did not wish to tread on your belief system regarding the issue of the age at which young children can come to faith in Christ and be saved.  We may differ doctrinally and still dwell in unity.  However, in order to differ there must be some understanding of our differences.  My system of belief regarding the salvation of our children hinges upon Covenant Theology.  Now don’t go googling Covenant Theology because what you will find is subject to error.  Wikipedia is all over the place on Covenant Theology.  For our purpose, just understand that the key to this theology is God’s righteousness in and faithfulness to his promises.  God is a covenant keeper.

God made covenants with various people in scripture.  Most notably for our purposes, regarding the salvation of the children of believing parents, God made a covenant with Abraham.  Paul explains the significance of this covenant in Romans 4.   What is often described as the Covenant of Circumcision is laid out in Genesis 17.  We in the Covenant Community believe that the promise to redeem a people for the Kingdom of God is signified in the sign and seal of circumcision before the crucifixion of Christ.  Since the death and resurrection of Christ, the last bloody sacrifice, the sign and seal of this promise is signified in baptism.  Therefore we baptize our infant children just as Abraham circumcised his.  We believe that just as Abraham was saved by faith, his offspring for generations were saved by faith.  Subsequently, as the promise, salvation by faith, was given to those of us outside of the genealogy of Abraham, the gentile, that promise includes our children also.

Once understood correctly, Covenant Theology is truly comfort food.  We believe that our children will be saved.  We even believe that our children can be born in a regenerate state.  My pastor has one of the most beautiful expressions of this that he prays in his intercessory prayer during our worship. When praying by name for our expectant mothers and their unborn children he asks God, “May you grant these children their second birth even before their first birth.”

So if you are a Baptist, don’t click off.  I don’t want to loose any by the wayside because we differ on baptism.  Even the apostles bickered over similar issues.  I hate bickering so I tend to avoid these differences when I speak to my Baptist friends.  In fact, I refuse to debate the point anymore.  I prefer to stick to the encouragement arena.

God’s plan of salvation for you, whatever you believe doctrinally, is not dependent upon your promise keeping ability.  I think we can at least agree that we are pretty rotten promise keepers.  Unless we see some advantage in or obligation to a promise we won’t keep promises.  Therefore, we can safely assume that, your children will be fairly inept promise keepers as well.  The foolishness bound up in the heart of your child is a constant reminder of their need for the same mercy God showed you for your foolishness.  God has no advantage in or obligation to keep his promise.  He just does it.  It is inherent in his being.  In fact some theologians would say that the summation of God’s attribute of righteousness is his promise keeping.  I’m certainly glad that our righteousness is not determinate upon our promise keeping.

A text that I have chosen for assistance in this series of posts is a work by a 17th century preacher named Edward Lawrence (1623-1665).  Lawrence began his pastoral ministry in the Church of England until he refused to submit to Parliament on the issue of using the Book of Common Prayer as the rule of doctrinal authority.  In 1666 he was banished from his Parish under the Five Mile Act, where he had to move five miles from the boundary of the Parish and was labeled a nonconformist.  He got a better deal than an ancestor of mine who was beheaded for the same thing.  The Scots always got a raw deal.

Lawrence preached a series of sermons on Proverbs 17:25 “A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him.”  Later he would compile a short book from the sermon notes specifically to give to his children, who apparently were  unregenerate.  Later he would publish the book titled “Parent’s Groans Over Their Wicked Children.”  I told you I was not a fan of self-help books.  I will make an exception for this one, reprinted and edited by Soli Deo Gloria publishing in 2003 under the title “Parent’s Concerns for Their Unsaved Children.”

In the next few posts I will draw out some key points Lawrence makes such as the nature of unregenerate children, God’s exceptions to the rule in growing his Church by natural generation,  the calamity of parents having unsaved children, and playing Pollyanna in the face of this desperate situation.  Some things never change.  Children have always been fore most concerns for the godly parent.  Lawrence shares some of his concerns and how to rightly bear those concerns.

 

 

 

I’m Not the Villain Here!

My favorite movie of all time was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched it as a child and with my own children.  One interesting fact that really says much about the quality of the film, is that it is based on a book by Ian Fleming, the former British Naval Intelligence officer and the author of the James Bond 007 spy novels.  The film was only loosely adapted from Fleming’s successful children’s book but the production by Albert R. Broccoli, who also produced many of the Bond films, made the story pop in the screen play.   Dick Van Dyke solidified the success of the film with an encore performance, after starring in the fantastical “Mary Poppins” four years earlier.   Okay, where am I going with this?  Do you remember Baron and Baroness Bomburst?  Do you remember what they hated the most?  They despised children.  To combat the problem of children in their kingdom they employed the Child Catcher.   The scene where the Potts children were hiding at the toymaker’s shop while the Child Catcher menacingly rides into the village in the Kingdom of Vulgaria on his horse drawn carriage with his child catching net still scares me.  Voted by Entertainment Weekly in 2008 as one of the top 50 most vile villains in screen history, the Child Catcher ranked above the Wicked Witch of the West . However, though you may think so after this article, I am not he who hates children.  I love children, but I see them for what they are.  As I began this series, and told you that it was designed not to instruct but to encourage. I knew I would have to tread on a topic that some might think a little harsh.  Just like boot camp, we must be broken down before we are built back up.  Okay, here goes!  Children are generally hated by God before they are loved by God.

Who in their right mind could have hated Jeremy and Jemima Potts.  Just watch the movie and you will see two of the sweetest, most pure, harmless… enough with the adjectives, but you get the picture.  The “Toot Sweet” scene with the lovely Truly Scrumptious was adorable, right.   Of course, they had to be portrayed as such to create the antithesis for the Baron’s and Baroness’ antagonism.  Who would want to injure these adorable little children?  Let us leave the fantasy land and enter the world in which we live.  How do you view the spiritual nature of your children?  Is it from the world’s perspective where, more like the film, children are seen as innocent, not responsible for their imperfections and transgressions?  When a child misbehaves is it sinful or simply childish?  Is your child’s relentless energy or, stated another way, running, talking, wiggling, et cetera, when they’ve been told not to, benign or malignant?  Is their failure to follow instruction foolishness or ignorance?

If you are a follower of Christ, your answers to these questions are very important.  I am aware that there may be some doctrinal differences amongst those who read this blog.  I do not wish to tread on your belief system, as far as, when a child comes to faith or is saved, at least not today.

Let’s work in reverse order of the questions I just asked.  Are your children foolish or ignorant?  Let’s define the terms as we know them to be.  Foolishness is the lack of good sense or judgement.  Ignorance is the lack of knowledge or awareness.  God tells us, “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child.” (Prov. 22:15)  Do you see the desparate situation here.  The soul of the child is enslaved to poor judgement.  Solomon, the foremost child psychologist, does not say that a lack of information is the problem with the child’s behavior.  Neither is it a retention issue. It’s not that he forgot you told him to stop running in the Church building,  so he does not lack the information.  He simply uses poor judgement by choosing what he wants to do over what you told him to do.  For those of us who took a little psychology in college, we could argue the lack of development of the prefrontal cortex, the executive decision or judgement making portion of the brain. All right, props for that observation. The prefrontal cortex is supposedly fully functional by age 25.  I know a lot of foolish adults and my horses don’t even have a prefrontal cortex and they have pretty good judgement. I digress.

Next, is your energizer bunny’s behavior benign (harmless) or malignant (harmful)?  We’ll according to God, if it is caused by foolishness, and in the very next portion of the Proverb he says that “only the rod of discipline” will remove it, foolishness, from him, then it must be judged to be malignant.  God would not recommend the use of corporal punishment for something benign or harmless.  What your children are doing is what Paul called “suppressing the truth by their wickedness.”  Remember, they are not ignorant of the fact that you have told them five times today not to run in the Church building, and five hundred times since they began to understand language.  They know what you told them, they just refuse to do it.  They suppress it.  Read on in Paul’s introductory chapter of Romans (1:19-32.)  Go read it! Several times he refers to the foolishness of men, not their ignorance.  But you say, “This is bad stuff they are doing!  These are some nasty people!”  What does this have to do with my little darling.  Well, little Johnny is capable of all this stuff, eventually. Currently, however, he is included in the same category of them whom God has revealed his wrath upon by the implications of verse 30, “they disobey their parents.”  Now, is their behavior malignant or benign?  Use your prefrontal cortex.  You be the judge because Paul already did.  He called it foolishness.

Lastly, is their misbehavior sin or is it just being children?  If we still have to answer this question then I have failed and you might as well click off. The Westminster Divines defined sin as any lack of conformity to or transgression of the law of God.  I think we can make a sound argument for a sinful condition. Your child is, just like you, and just like the vilest of the vile, a sinner, justly deserving God’s displeasure, and without hope save in God’s sovereign mercy.

This is quite a picture of desperation.  Some may believe that God gives children a pass,  an age of responsibility at which somehow magically, children move form one category of person to another.  Haven’t found that one in scripture yet, but I’m not an exhaustive source.  What I have found is that God has provided a remedy for the problem of sin in our children.  He has also provided that wicked little viper an advocate. You being a godly parent is the most typical means that God grows his kingdom. Your child is born with its own personal priest. Your first duty in the Great Commission is not a mission trip to Uganda, but rather the evangelization of your child, whether they are infants or adults.  Your child has you to lead them to claiming God’s promises as their own and to assist them in inheriting the kingdom you inherited.  Acknowledging that your child is tenuously dangling over the fires of Hell is the first step in invoking the mercies of God in Christ Jesus.

More Things Near and Dear

As my last two posts, “Some Kind of Wonderful” and “Lean On Your Lover,” dealt with the topic of our temporal and our eternal marriages, I thought that the next few posts should deal with something else that is also near and dear to our hearts, children.  Many  experienced teachers and counselors are available that far outweigh me in the area of advice on raising children.  The raising of children is not my area of expertise so I do not intend to offer my two cents worth on that topic.  The only weight I carry is that, like many of you, I’ve been there done that, and  I claim no certification.  Also, as many of you have already raised your children, these posts and my two cents may seem passe.  However looking backward without vain regrets is heathy for us all.  As some of you may only be children and far from being parents, you can benefit by reading these posts from which you may see a need for reorientation of your views toward being children of God.

I’m not a big fan of self-help books or programs.  You know the type.  The author usually has a bunch of letters before or behind his name and he is eager to let you know that he is an expert and you are an imbecile.  They go around promoting their work speaking at conferences and selling their potions like the snake oil salesmen that they usually are.  Hind sight is usually your only defense against their snares.  Quite often, only time will tell that they nor their advice were particularly effective at solving your problem.  Remember there is nothing new under the sun, just repackaging.

When we started our family, I remember the popular books and programs that were recommended to us.  How we were raised wasn’t right, so here’s how you fix how poorly your parents messed you up.  I was always mesmerized to hear and see how these plans resulted in all these perfect little angels who walked in lockstep to their parents direction.  One plan in particular, let’s call it, “Raise Your Children Our Way” by Godly George and Saintly Susan, promoted having your children voice there concerns over the justness of your directions to them by giving them the opportunity to appeal your decisions.  Literally the child was taught to say, “May I appeal” when you ruled on matters of behavior .  For example, Dad comes home and the child’s bike is in the driveway and he has to get out of his car and move it.   The child had been told not to leave their bike in the driveway.  Dad would then go to the child and say, “I told you not to leave your bike in the driveway and therefore you will not be able to ride your bike for two days.”  The child could then say, “May I appeal?”  Dad could then grant an appeal to the child but he would qualify the appeal request by stipulating that the child must introduce “new information” in his defense. In other words, stuff Dad couldn’t have possibly known, due to his self absorbed awareness of only that which was Dad stuff.  For example, the child could make the argument that the fact that a terrible electrical storm arose out of nowhere as he was riding and as he raced home he crashed into the fence and fell causing great bodily injury, and by the time he regained consciousness he was so disoriented that he could not locate the garage, and when he finally did get his bearings, he found that  the power had been lost due to a tree falling on the electrical service connection, and the garage door would not open, and after locating his mother, who was diligently making bread in the kitchen, sewing  new clothes for the other fifteen children, singing hymns and oblivious to the hurricane outside, she was unable to manually open the garage door, due to the fact that pulling the red handle on the cord hanging from the latch was a “man” thing and out of her sphere of wifely responsibility, he was providentially hindered from completing the duty of putting his bike away.  The child would then sum up his defense in a closing argument that due to the totality of the circumstances he did not feel as though he was guilty of the crime of negligent bike putting away and was therefore suing for mercy.  Dad would then evaluate the “new information” and make his ruling.  Everyone could then have a group hug.

What a wonderful system this is. We should by the six DVD set and accompanying book, workbook, quick reference guide and charts to stick on the refrigerator,  take it home and try it out on our little brood, right!  This will solve all our problems!  We will have perfect little children too and everyone at Church will think we are the super sanctified duo.  They might even let us teach the parenting class next season.  We still laugh about that one.  I’m pretty sure that my wife saw through that scam but I bought it hook, line, and sinker. There were several along the way and I do not disparage anyone who has a successful plan that works for them.  However, there is no one size fits all system developed by man.

My chief point in all this is to say, in God’s plan for parents, he assumes one fact that we don’t often factor in.  His plan is perfect and was implemented before the dawn of time, specifically suited for your individual good and His triune Glory.  Your successes and your failures were predetermined by the counsel His will.  Your weakness and dependence upon his sovereignty in raising your children is for His Glory.

That’s why the series of posts forthcoming will not be about raising our children.  Rather it will be about the nature of God’s raising His children.  I plan to use examples of God’s sovereign grace, righteousness (promise keeping),  justice and truth to make the case for our trusting in him.  Stay tuned.