The other day my husband was looking far into our son’s future. Not like a psychic mind you, but dreading the day when he would leave home. Our son is 8 months old, so this is a long way off. But as they say, time flies, and this day will be here sooner than we think. Then I started. “Oh man, I hope he doesn’t want to go away to college. I might worry about him too much.”
Then I actually started to think biblically. Sending him off is our job as parents. God gave us our son to give him back to the Lord. Think of Hannah and Samuel in the Old Testament. Hannah could not conceive and prayed, weeping, in the house of the Lord at Shiloh. When the Lord answered her prayer, and after she had weened her son Samuel, she brought him back to the temple at Shiloh and offered her son to Eli the high priest. Here is what she said to Eli,
“Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”
Samuel was a gift who was offered back to the Lord. We can learn so much from Hannah. She was a humble woman; even though she waited so long for a son she was not greedy and controlling once she received her gift. Her hands were not tightly clenched over her son in fear and anxiety, but her hands were wide open to offer Samuel to the Lord. Hannah understood her place as a mother before God.
Mother’s are Stewards
As mothers we are merely tools God uses for a season in our children’s lives. Our children ultimately belong to God and we are stewards of this gift. We are entrusted with nurturing, sheltering (for a time), and training our children. For what end? To send them into the world. They are intended to leave home and it is our purpose to prepare them for that end. We give them the tools, teach them how to wield them, and then trust God with the rest.
Psalm 127: 3-5 speaks to this:
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.”
It is a reward to have a quiver full of children, but arrows are not intended to lie idle in the quiver; they must be shot out of the bow. Our children are weapons of warfare, and we must prepare them for the battle.
A Mother’s Love
Rachel Jankovic has some great insight into this portion of scripture. It’s a bit lengthy, but good enough to share the whole thing:
“God does not share our sentimental view of motherhood. While he delights in children, he does not speak of them in some cutesy photo shoot kind of a way. He compares them, not to tiny fairies, or dewey flowers, but to arrows. To weapons in the hand of a mighty man.
God does not tell us to desire the blessing of children because their cheerful voices will make our houses feel cozy. He tells us to desire children who will contend with the enemy in the gate.
It is natural and good that we delight in the little things with our children. God didn’t command mothers to rejoice over elbow dimples and the smell of a new baby’s head. He didn’t tell us to smile over them while they sleep, or to love the way they look in footie pajamas. He didn’t tell us these things, because He didn’t have to. That is the natural love of a mother for her children.
But the love that we need, the reminders we need, is to love them, not for our own sake, but for what God is doing through them. We need a supernatural love. We need to believe in the victory, to mother in faithful confidence.”
Not off to Neverland
Like I said, my son is only 8 months, and I have a hard road ahead of slowly learning the lesson of Hannah. Of course there is a time and a place for sheltering him while he is young, but as he grows I must grow in preparing him for the world, practically and spiritually. As much as I would love to send him off to Neverland and he could be frozen in time as Peter Pan, this is not God’s will for him. He must grow into a man and then fight Captain Hook.
I pray my son responds to Christ’s call of salvation and grows in his love and knowledge of His Word; I pray he will be a light in a dark world. Amen.