Laura, a stay-at-home mom of three, can’t catch a break. After putting her toddler down for a nap, she thinks she will have a second to catch up on the laundry pile that is now comparable to Mt. Everest. Yet, just as she begins to fold the first t-shirt, her toddler comes out of the room with throw-up all over him. After giving him a bath and cleaning up the mess, Laura realizes she has lost track of time and forgotten to pick up her middle school son from school. Frantically searching for her keys, she gets a text from her fifteen-year-old daughter, complaining once more about why she can’t attend the party this weekend. Frustrated, Laura straps her toddler in her car seat and drives to pick up her son. On the way home, he asks her why his friend Dillon wants to become a girl.
Laura thinks to herself, how will I ever survive this day, let alone have the capacity to help my kids with these issues?
Parents often feel inadequate to disciple their kids. Whether it be exhaustion from a busy day at work, lacking in biblical literacy and theology, or just being able to understand what their child is currently going through, parenting in a godly way at times seems like an impossible task. However, the Bible teaches us that God, in his grace, equips parents for the task of discipling their children.
Lessons From the Life of Moses
The story of the Exodus points ahead to the redemption from sins that we experience through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We also find some wonderful truths that strengthen our faith in the specific roles God has called us to fulfill.
Leading up to Exodus 4, Moses has been in the wilderness for forty years, estranged from the Hebrews, the people of his birth, and the Egyptian family who raised him. Moses is a sojourner with no place to call home. Yet Yahweh, the great I Am, will send Moses to deliver his people from Egypt, for he has remembered his covenant and heard their cries for rescue.
Chapter four begins with Moses’ response to God. The man is filled with doubt, timidity, and excuses. Three times Moses tells the Lord that he cannot complete the task God is commanding him to do: “The people won’t listen,” “I do not speak well,” “Please send someone else.” Even in Moses’s lack of faith, God shows him grace. Demonstrating his longsuffering and patience, God provides multiple signs that Moses can use to convince the people that the Lord sent him. God even brings his brother Aaron to be Moses’ mouthpiece before Pharaoh and the people.
Every time Moses declares that he is inadequate for the task, God reminds him that he is sufficient to equip Moses with everything he needs to deliver the Israelites. Paul reminds us that we do not find our adequacy in ourselves, but rather our adequacy comes from Christ: “Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant…” (2 Cor. 3:4-6).
Parents Serve the Same God Moses Served
When Moses writes this story for the people of Israel, they are preparing for the conquest of Canaan. This story of Moses being equipped and empowered despite his inadequacies would be ample encouragement for the people of Israel to know that God too would equip them with the strength they needed to conquer the Canaanites.
This same God can and will equip parents today with the grace they need to parent and disciple their children. Moses’ call was based on the covenant promise that through Moses, God would bring his people into the promised land. In the same way, if God has called you to be a parent, he will give you the grace you need to raise your child in the ways of the Lord.
By remembering the faithfulness of God and how he fulfilled all his promises to Moses, to Israel, and to us in Jesus, we can be confident that God will not let us down in the task he has called us to. By remembering the grace, mercy, long-suffering, and patience God exhibited to Moses and that God has exhibited to us in Christ, we can show our kids this same grace, longsuffering, and patience when they disobey, disrespect us, or refuse to listen.
Focusing on God and Not Ourselves
We often feel too weak and feeble to fulfill our role as parents. When we focus on our own weaknesses, we make God look small. Ultimately, we must take our eyes off our inadequacies and gaze upon our great God, who is able to supply us with all we need to serve him. After all, if God in his grace has met his perfect standard of holiness in his son Jesus, then surely he will provide the grace we need to help us fulfill our role as parents.
The truth is, as parents, we are weak. In our own strength, we are unable to be the parents God has called us to be. But praise God that his grace is sufficient for us, and his power is perfected in our weakness.
So, this week when you feel inadequate to discipline your kids, when you feel insufficient in theology to teach them about God, or when you feel your life is an imperfect example of Jesus, remember this: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is with you. He is for you. He will strengthen, empower, and equip you with his abundant grace to complete the mission he has called you to in parenting and discipling your children.
Our featured family discipleship course this month, Pornography and Parenting, equips parents to have the hard conversations with their children about the dangers of pornography.