As parents, we desire to give good things to our kids and protect them from harm (Luke 11:13). We aim to launch the “arrows in our quiver” with pride and joy, watching with anticipation as they go forth independently after years of preparation (Ps. 127:4). Whether it is a child’s graduation or the day we hear their wedding vows to a godly spouse, we long to witness these milestones because they seem to signify the “happily ever after” we desperately want for our children.
But the world we live in is far from Eden, where everything works in its intended created order. Our lives are affected by sin: our sin, our children’s sin, and the sin of others. Relationships are not always loving, labor is not always fruitful, and any number of disasters are a real possibility.
We do our best to teach our kids to walk wisely in the fear of the Lord, trusting in his character and love, yet parents face multiple what-if scenarios, playing out in our minds like the multiverse movie we never asked for. What if I miss some warning sign of my child’s health struggle and catch on too late? What if my failure to correct them in their youth leads to years of painful, wayward living? What if they miss out on having a wonderful, godly marriage or becoming parents themselves?
These what-if scenarios are part and parcel of living in a fallen world. We have no guarantees that our children’s lives will be free from difficulty or tragedy, despite our best parenting efforts. Trials are the norm, not the exception, and God gives and takes out of his abundant wisdom (John 16:33, 1 Pet 4:12) . His sovereign will is a mystery (Job 1:21, Deut 29:29). It is entirely possible that our children may miss out on the blessings we desperately desire for them, whether as a consequence of their sin or not. And this side of Eden, even their greatest hard-won victories will one day fade.
Resurrection Hope for Parents
But we are parents who hope in Jesus. Our hearts decry the fatalistic view that a lack of guarantee in future circumstances means we now live in fear and despair, or with a “YOLO” mentality, hoarding momentary pleasures because there is nothing to look to after death. In Christ, we live as the redeemed, and with eager expectation, we know the day is coming when the truest happily ever after will be our consummate reality.
When Christ rose from the dead, he proved victorious over sin and death, promising that we also will one day have indestructible, glorious bodies and live joyfully in God’s presence, free at last of all hurt and sorrow and any trace of sin (Rom. 8:18-24, Phil. 3:20, 1Cor. 15:56-57).
Because of Jesus’s resurrection, all suffering and loss are temporary in view of eternity, and the Lord himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes in due time (Rev. 21:4). Death does not have the final say; it is not the end for the believer. This is the most beautiful truth that those of us in Christ are guaranteed.
A Bright Future
So we need not parent in the fear of our children suffering. Suffering will come indeed, but it is never meaningless for those under Christ’s grace (1Pet. 1:3-7, Rom. 8:28). There is help, comfort, and ultimately, sure deliverance.
We do not need to be anxious that by some miscalculation or missed opportunity, our children will never know the blessings we yearned for them to grasp. If they are In Christ, they will receive and behold goodness in heaping, eternal abundance in the life to come. Only then will we and our children truly know that the brightest joys we strove for and attained on earth were just a glimpse of the eternal glory that awaited us in the unending presence of Jesus our Savior (2 Cor. 4:16-18).
And so as we wait for that day, we parent by God’s grace as faithful stewards of the children he has entrusted to us. Our children are a blessing, a gift to us from our Good Father, and they belong more to him than they do to us. So we labor to love them wisely, not to seek validation for our work as parents, but because we trust and obey our heavenly Father who has already granted us his approval (Eph. 2:10).
Jesus’s resurrection signified that his death on the cross was sufficient to redeem us, ensuring that we have received new lives in him (Rom. 6:5-11). We can rest in God’s promises since we– and our children– are his very own. He who loves us will give us all that we need, and his presence will forever accompany us in this journey of parenthood (2 Pet. 1:3; Deut. 31:8).
If our children are in Christ, we can be confident in their future. Their best, and our best, is yet to come.
Did you know we now have a Parent Guide for walking with your children through our newest study, Knowing Jesus? If you purchase the Knowing Jesus bonus curriculum, you’ll be able to share these guides with all of your youth group’s parents. Families will be able to talk about the Scripture, the questions, and the main takeaways together at home. We also think this is a perfect study for your summer programming. Since each lesson pulls from different parts of the Bible, students who have missed a lesson from summer trips won’t fall behind, and can even go through their missed lessons at home as a family in their own time. It’s a flexible study, perfect for looping in families and introducing new believers and non-believers to Jesus. If you’ve already purchased this study, the parent guides are in your library. If you haven’t, go ahead and purchase today so you can study with the youth in your life, whether at church or at home.