Once people know I’m a parent, it’s inevitable. I know the words I’ll hear shortly.
Without fail, they are going to say something like, “I don’t envy you. With all the issues out there, I don’t know how you can be a parent these days.”
Many of these people are parents themselves, but they’ve seen their children grow up and leave the nest.
It’s not that they don’t understand the sacrifices of being a parent at all. They know how to be a parent, but they don’t think they know how to be a parent during “these days.”
These days. That’s their point. That’s where the trouble lies for them.
They may be talking about the constantly shifting technological advances and having teenagers during the age of smartphones.
They may have in mind the decline of cultural Christianity and the increasing secularization of culture.
They may be referencing the world of entertainment and the seemingly antagonistic role many in the industry take toward orthodox Christianity.
It may be the threat of terrorism or sexual assault, politics or cyber bullying, violence or peer pressure.
In their mind, the idea of parenting children and teenagers during this tumultuous time is unfathomable.
I understand the other person is most often merely trying to empathize and communicate their appreciation of a difficult task.
But focusing on the daunting task of modern parenting can be a dangerous message for parents to hear. It can make a challenging calling seem to be overwhelming and unbearable.
It can cause a parent to think to themselves, “How can I be a parent right now?” and let fear reign in their life as a result.
But is God not still on His throne in my home as He is in heaven? Does His sovereignty cease when it comes to becoming a parent?
I know people who will testify to God’s sovereignty in raising up world leaders and guiding global affairs, but act as if the Heavenly Father is shocked that I became an earthly father.
God is sovereign in my being a parent during this time and my children being children during this time.
He has chosen me to be a father and my wife to be a mother in this moment. In these days.
Yes, there are specific challenges to being a parent in 2017. But there were challenges for my parents during the Cold War and the emergence of home computers.
How did my grandparents manage their kids during the turbulent 1960s? How did my great-grandparents shepherd their children through the Great Depression and world wars?
Parenting is challenging no matter the era because parenting is challenging period. But in His wisdom, God has made me a parent today.
I’m not the perfect parent, but I am the parent perfectly chosen by God for my children in this moment. His sovereignty does not stop in the hospital delivery room.
Christian parents don’t need your pity. They do, however, desperately need your prayers.
Pray for the parents in your life. But do so to encourage us, to strengthen us in the faith, not because these days are so much different from others.
Don’t lead us, through your pity, to cast our eyes on the wind and waves swirling around us. Remind us, pray for us to fix our eyes on Jesus.
The same One that guided previous generations of Christian parents seeking to raise Christian children is the same One we need today.
He is not taken by surprise by those of us who are parents. My wife and I brought four kids into this wild and crazy world, but we did it through the gracious, sovereign hand of our good Father.
We need your prayers to help us constantly be mindful of this fact. Your pity only encourages us to turn our gaze elsewhere.
Instead of responding to a parent with, “I don’t know how you do it,” you’d be serving and encouraging us much more by saying, “In Christ, I know you can do it. I’m praying for you.”