2 Kings 18-25
When my son was in kindergarten he chose to dress as King Josiah for Halloween. My little boy was enthralled with the idea of an eight-year-old king. I was pleased he chose a biblical character, especially one who did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
Josiah’s father, Amon, was evil from the beginning to the end of his brief reign. Amon’s father, Manasseh, was even worse. Manasseh rebuilt the high places and altars of idol worship that his father Hezekiah had torn down. Hezekiah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.
What a fascinating circle of familial dysfunction! A good father raised an evil son who continued the tradition with an evil son of his own. Then along came the little boy king, Josiah who was everything his father and grandfather were not and who followed in the footsteps of his great-grandfather. Josiah destroyed the high places and the altars that his father and grandfather had rebuilt. In 2 Kings it says, “There was no king like Josiah before or after him. He obeyed the Lord with all his heart, soul and strength.” Amazingly enough, Josiah’s sons who ruled after him, both did what the Lord said was wrong, even with a godly example like Josiah!
"We can do our very best as parents and still have children who grow up to make poor choices or live ungodly lives. Or we can be miserable failures as parents and have children who grow to live for Christ."
We can do our very best as parents and still have children who grow up to make poor choices or live ungodly lives. Or we can be miserable failures as parents and have children who grow to live for Christ. Our children develop minds of their own, making their own decisions, good or bad, regardless of our parenting skills.
On Christmas Eve 1984, a doctor placed a squirming, red-faced baby girl on my chest and just like that, I became a mother! I had never seen anything quite so beautiful as that tiny new-born. I had never feared anything quite so much as that tiny new-born. I had never loved anything quite so fiercely or so protectively as that tiny new-born! I remember the nurses telling us when we left the hospital that we could call them anytime, day or night if we had questions, but we couldn’t return her! Most of us are so inexperienced when they place that first child in our arms. Yet, God chooses us as the best ones to parent our children. And the best place for us to be in this journey is on our knees in complete surrender and dependence on him.
As I sit here now reflecting from the eyes of Grandma Terri, I’m truly awed at how my children turned out. They are amazing adults who married godly, wonderful people. They have children who they’re raising to know Jesus. They’re involved in solid churches. They’re doing what’s right in the eyes of the Lord as their mother and father did! Or in spite of their mother and father?
Did I make mistakes as a parent? Oh my, yes! How about the days when I felt like I did nothing but yell at my children. When I got to the end of the day and couldn’t recall one way I had edified them or strengthened their little spirits. Or how about when I felt my discipline was inconsistent? Or the times of paralyzing worry when I stopped trusting God with them and believed I could do better on my own? Or when I accidentally left one of them at church? (Oh, come on, we’ve all done it!)
But, in spite of the mistakes I made as a parent, I did some things right. I loved
God tells us in his word to talk about him with our children. We did that. We worshiped with them and prayed with them and introduced them to God’s Word. More importantly, we modeled those things ourselves.
"God chose you to influence the children in your life, be it through parenting, as an aunt or uncle, or as a teacher or coach. He will give you the skills you need to do the job."
I don’t know if good King Hezekiah loved on Manasseh when he was tiny or worshiped with him. Or what Amon did that made Josiah determine he would never be like his father. Sometimes it’s a mystery as to how our children turn out. But, take heart. God chose you to influence the children in your life, be it through parenting, as an aunt or uncle, or as a teacher or coach. He will give you the skills you need to do the job. Influencing a child in a positive way is one of the highest callings God can give and he will equip you to do it. Godly parents and role models partnering with the church to be champions in a child’s life will grow spiritual giants in our community!
Here I sit still reflecting from the eyes of Grandma Terri. God has given me a new generation to influence for him with none of the stress involved in parenting! My heart overflows with joy and gratitude when I see my granddaughters bow their little heads in prayer as their parents do, as Greg and I do, as their great-grandparents did, continuing our family legacy. My job now is to pray that they will grow to do what is right in the eyes of the Lord.