At the beginning of our Thursday night class, I asked the group, “What's been going on between you and the Lord?” One of the men spoke his concern over his thirteen‐year‐old daughter, who had been caught cutting in the school locker room. This father was separated from his daughter because of divorce. He was restricted in just how much he could protect her. I could sense the question, “What to do…?” forming on some of the other men's faces as well.
If you have children, you already know how life changes with your first child. It's as if something is activated when you have the realization: “My child!” I can't speak as a mother, but as a father I was instantly on alert status. Nobody was going to come near my baby.
I'm taking a break from the “Hearing from God” series for a couple of days. If you are interested in improving your ability to hear from God, I want you to have some time practicing the “read to listen” approach we discussed, before going on to some of the other ways we hear from God.
In a healthy home with both parents present, a baby is never very far from one or the other parent. Even when the little one is in daycare, Mom has one ear always open for a text alert.
It's as if parents are pre‐wired with a “protection switch” that gets turned on at childbirth. A stroller ride to the park puts Mom in secret‐service mode. A trip to the mall has Dad assessing every potential danger. You are on a continual watch. After my oldest son was born, I didn't even sleep in the same way as before.
You can look at your child and confidently say, “As long as you're with me you are safe.” So it becomes difficult when you can no longer hold your child by the hand. It is difficult when your child gets on the school bus for the very first time. As your child spends more and more time away from you, how can you make sure he or she is safe?
The most difficult separation for me from my children was when they learned to drive. They were in real danger now, and I wasn't there to protect them. I was most aware of this separation with my daughter. To help her learn how to drive I took her to some winding back roads. I had her put the right tire on the line at the edge of the road and told her to drive as fast as she could while keeping her tire on that line. I showed her how to run off the road and get back on safely. I was conditioning and preparing her for all sorts of driving conditions. But when she drove off for the first time without me I felt helpless.
In the healthiest of homes parents can feel helpless to protect their children, as they leave their care. But healthy homes are the exception in our culture here in America. And the wiring to protect those we love has been scrambled through poverty, violence, divorce, imprisonment, addictions—to name just a few of the assaults against the family. So we not only have healthy parents who feel helpless to protect their grown children, we also have children and grown children who have never known the protection of a parent with an active “protection switch.“
If your “protection switch” has always functioned properly and you want to do more to protect those you love, I have some good news. If your “protection switch” has intermittent current getting through for the very first time, but it seems to be too little and too late—I have good news. You don't have to feel helpless because you are not helpless.
Maybe your situation is not textbook perfect. Maybe you are a single parent. Maybe you are a step‐parent. Maybe you are a grandparent. Maybe your children are those who have no one else to call on as a parent. You don't have to feel helpless because you are not helpless.
Your desire to protect those who are, were, or should have been under your care is from God. In fact, you have a lifetime responsibility to look after those under your care—to look after their best interest. Your responsibility does not stop after the high school graduation ceremony, after the divorce, after the fight, after the imprisonment, after the sex. Your responsibility is for a lifetime. And it's never too late to assume your responsibility.
Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: (1 Samuel 12:23)
There's no verse in the Bible that says: “Thou shalt never stop being a parent (or guardian).” So what would cause me to say, “Once a parent, always a parent”?
God reveals Himself to us as a Father who sent His Son so that we might become a part of His family. This passage from Psalm 91 is just one of the many instances revealing the heart of God as a Father:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "[He is] my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust." Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler [and] from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth [shall be your] shield and buckler. (Psalms 91:1–4 NKJV)
Look at all the Biblical references to family (in the KJV):
- “father”: 998 times
- “son”: 2378 times
- “mother”: 249 times
- “daughter”: 327 times
- “family”: 123 times
God reveals Himself through the concept of family—not because He knows we can relate to family, but because we are His family.
The devil's intent is to create orphans—by isolating us from the Father and from each other. But Jesus makes it possible for us to get back together as family. Do not allow your physical or spiritual children to become orphans by abandoning your role as parent.
How do you fix your “protection switch” if it has been damaged? I was asked that very question during our class. After a brief discussion, the man came up with the answer to his own question: “I must ask God to help me turn the switch back on.”
Before we continue tomorrow, I ask you to consider the condition of your “protection switch.”
Have a good day,