I write this especially for both parents and children. The important thing in life is to know God and to serve Him, in whatever way He calls you, which may well not be the way you imagined you would like, or the way that those around you want you to go. Every one of us is made for God, to know Him, to love Him, to glorify Him, to enjoy Him, forever. Children are not made for parents, nor parents for children, but all are made for Christ, and all are children of the one Father who is in Heaven.
If you are a parent, understand that your child, from the moment of conception, is a separate human person, made individually by God and for God. He or she does not belong to you, but to God. Your parenting must take this into account. You must look at your child as another human person, belonging to God and made in the Divine Image, able to see things you may not see, and called to love God in a way you may not comprehend. You are there to show your child the Love of God, in your actions and in your words, and to guide and teach what you know – never to dominate, never to stifle your child’s unique personality and development in the knowledge of God and in the call of God in his or her life. “Not many of you should aspire to be teachers, for we will be judged more strictly,” should be remembered by you always: be careful in what you teach, that it is only what you know of God and from God, and not whatever ideas you have, even if the ideas are good in themselves, of what your child, or children in general, should turn out to be. Be careful, also, in what you command, lest you place yourselves in the way of your child to God. Remember, “whoever scandalizes one of these little ones, it were better for him to be thrown in the sea with a millstone around his neck,” and, depending upon the mercy of God – for you will surely fail! – seek to point your child to Christ, never to yourself, and to be ready always to see your own failure and repent and ask for forgiveness. Your child is a sacred creation of God, and you have been entrusted with a sacred, glorious, and terrible charge. Humility and constant readiness to learn and to repent are required of you. Lean on God, trust in His forgiveness, and seek to love with all your heart!
Children, you, like every human being, are called to the knowledge of God, to an intimate relationship with the Triune God of love and trust. You, too, are entrusted with a sacred charge: to obey and love God with all your heart and soul, never succumbing either to your own pride and willfulness, to your own ideas of what is right or pleasurable which may well not come from God, or to the expectations or demands of those around you which are contrary to the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Obey God in everything, even if your parents – even if your Christian parents – tell you to do otherwise. Many of you probably have parents who consider themselves, in one way or another, to be devout Christians – with whether or not your parents are truly Christian, truly desire to serve God and to know Him, I am not here concerned – who yet would be very much upset if God calls you in certain ways – perhaps, these parents are rather wealthy, and would be very upset if you work at a grocery store or as a secretary in some small office, yet perhaps that is what God has in mind for you, that you may be a witness to Christ there! Perhaps, they would be very upset if God calls you, perhaps, to North Korea, or to China, or to Afghanistan, to witness to Christ openly and freely, and are even now doing everything they can to make it as hard as possible for you to recognize the call of God, in case it should lead to such a place, and perhaps to torture and martyrdom (and is not such an honor of honors, a crown of glory?). Or, perhaps, God wants you to give up all wealth and all ownership, and live on the streets, begging when you have to do so, and show His love and goodness to the others there – not unlike the rich young man who wanted to be perfect! Quite possibly, your call from God is not even hinted here, for even if I devoted a hundred pages to listing possible calls, there would be millions more! How should I even know what it is that God has called you to do? But you may well have parents, even Christian ones, who do not want you to follow the path God has for you, because it would seem unsuitable or improper to them, because it would go against what they feel their children should do or be or the life they have imagined for you. Maybe, you will be raped! Maybe, you will be cut to pieces. Maybe, you will starve! And, their wishes may counter God’s will for you even in small every-day-like actions and opportunities.
You will easily see how narrow is your path, how closely your eyes must be set on Christ and no one else, for you must never disobey for the sake of some grand idea that appeals to you, or some pride, or willfulness, or mere desire to do other than you are told, but you must unhesitatingly disobey, if their commands go against the will of God for you. Yet, suppose that you thirteen, and are certain that God wants you to go to Qatar to tell the people there, who have no opportunity to hear of Jesus, about His Love, and your parents tell you to spend your time and energy doing something that you cannot see how it could possibly help you to do that. Maybe, God wants you to be spending that time and energy somewhere else right now – maybe even in solitary prayer in a dark room – and you should say, “No.” Or, maybe, that something is in God’s perfect will for your life, and in it you will know Him specially, serve Him specially, or learn something that, though you cannot see it now – maybe, from the thing itself, you could never even have guessed what you would learn – that will be necessary for you later – or it could be any number of other things, for as I have said, I cannot think of all possibilities, much less write of all. Neither should you – and this applies to every Christian, as does the greater part of what I say here – ever think that something must be, or must not be, God’s will for you, because of those circumstances which seem to you the likely, or even certain, consequences of that path or choice, no matter how horrible or how wonderful the circumstance considered appears to you, nor even whom it might affect other than yourself. God is sovereign and God is Love. Nothing is hard for Him. He will do His very best for all His children, all His creatures.
I write this not that you may worry, but that you may never worry, but trust and obey the Savior who shed His blood to purchase you and have you as His own, His beloved. He is alive, and He is coming again! Seek Him! Follow Him! Obey His voice!
Do not fail to do what you believe He has called you to do because you are not quite certain you have heard His call aright. If you surrender, and truly want to obey, He will never let you go seriously wrong, and it will be an easy matter for Him to correct any misunderstanding which it is good for Him to correct at that moment. But, sinfulness and unwillingness to surrender may be the cause for your doubt if you have heard Him aright, and so continuing in doubt and indecision may only entrench and feed that pride and willfulness, making it still harder for you to hear His voice and surrender. Instead, surrender your life to be a living sacrifice upon the altar of His glory consumed by the fire of His Spirit of Love! Do not cling to your pride. Be willing to be humiliated, even to be ashamed, to suffer anything in any way or form, desiring only to follow Him as best as you know, and to accept any correction, to un-learn, to re-learn, to know better, always ready to repent.
Copyright 2019 Raina Nightingale