Friday, October 4, 2013

Matters of the Heart

Last night I ran across another one of those articles that makes a parent's skin crawl and her heart scream. One of those articles that claims to have discovered why young people leave the church. And wouldn't you know? This time the prime ingredient in whether or not our children continue in the church is . . . drum roll please . . . you . . . me . . . us . . . parents! (You can read the article here.)
Not surprisingly, homes modeling lukewarm faith do not create enduring faith in children. Homes modeling vibrant faith do. So these young adults are leaving something they never had a good grasp of in the first place. This is not a crisis of faith, per se, but of parenting.
I don't know about you, but had I known 25 years ago that the spiritual destiny of my children was going to depend on my parenting skills and the modeling of my vibrant faith, I would have crossed my legs for good and never let a child leave my loins (and the world would be minus 5 wonderful people). Answer me this: We have a God who creates out of nothing. Who summons the morning. Who makes streams in the desert. Who divides the sea. Who can cause the sun to stand still. Who sets captives free. Who can count the very hairs on our heads. Who raises the dead. Who conquers sin and death. We have a God who created us in our inmost being. Who created our children within us and designates the number of their days. We have this very powerful, wise, loving God and yet whether or not our children choose to be in and remain in a relationship with him depends on us?

The article talks about the need of the parents to have vibrant faith. How exactly does one define that and how do we know if we have one or not? I know that all too often I am a Mom of Little Faith. But even then there is that mustard seed thing . . .

And then we are to be modeling that vibrant faith? What if you wait until all is quiet to spend your time with God? What if you need the lack of distraction to focus and so your kids don't see you searching for wisdom and pouring your heart out to the Creator of the universe? Does that mean they are doomed? Does God, who sees what you do in secret, not hear your prayers because you aren't putting them on display for your children?

I know we are to teach and train and all that. I have heard that ad nauseum for almost 24 years now. I am not saying that we parents have no responsibility in caring for our children and teaching them truth, I just don't see how God arranged it so that their very hearts are placed in my very incapable hands.

All these articles. All these surveys. All these people ringing their hands. Bob Bennet got it right.
But there's just some things
That numbers can't measure
These fragile pieces of priceless treasure
There's just some things
That numbers can't measure
In Matters of the Heart
I can plant seeds, although I may not get that right. I can water, though my track record with earthly flora isn't so great. But God, and only God, can make them grow.

In all due respect, I guess it is important to do research to try to find out these things. But we must remember that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. Godly parents can have wayward children, and vice versa.

I just really don't think parents need any more pressure to get it right and any more guilt, if it appears that we didn't. Most of us know we don't have what it takes to transform the hearts of our children because we are not the Holy Spirit.

And even if they have wandered away and it is all our fault and what we thought was a vibrant faith turned out to be a tepid dribble of faithless goo, can God not hear our tear-filled, passionate prayers for the souls of our children and draw them back to himself?

Oh, I think he can.

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