Has the frequency of “I don’t know” increased in your parental lexicon of answers this year?
How many of your decisions have been tabled? How many of your family’s events or traditions have been postponed? How many of your expectations (and your children’s expectations) are now tempered with the trending mantra: Let’s wait and see?
If we had not yet known or felt our mortal short-sightedness before, perhaps we know and feel it a bit more now. And if our kids had not yet known or felt our inability to control the world around them, perhaps they know and feel that a bit more now too. “Let’s wait and see” makes practical sense for making some plans, even when our kids grow tired of hearing that answer.
But there are things we can tell our kids with rock-solid certainty.
God’s Word cuts through the fog of our changing world and radiates the light of timeless wisdom. This passage in the book of James talks about our limitations and the relative mistiness of our lives. James teaches us to trade our short-sightedness for an eternal perspective,
“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:14-15).
We may feel hesitant to take comfort in James’s instruction because we see that little word if. What if the Lord has not willed something that we are expecting or hoping for? Maybe our faith wears a cautious, furrowed brow. It’s true—we do not know what the Lord has willed concerning a great number of things.
But when we consider the big story of the Bible we can learn to wait and see with hope. Now is as great a time as ever to recall what God has already decided and planned.
In Isaiah chapter 43 God describes humanity’s biggest problem: “Your first father sinned, and your mediators transgressed against me (verse 27).”
We’re all sinners and our sin separates us from a holy God. Who will mediate for us? Yet God assures us that he has solved this problem himself: “I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins (verse 25).”
How did he do this? In his great mercy, God determined to save sinners and restore them to a right relationship with him through his Son Jesus. The invitation to trust in the saving, mediating work of Jesus on the cross is extended to the world!
As parents there will always be many things we don’t know, and things we cannot accomplish by our willpower. We don’t know all of the things God is doing in the world in this time. And so we pray with Paul, “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ” (2 Thess. 3:5). For all of our “I don’t knows” we can confidently remind ourselves and our kids of our hope in Jesus.
Gloria Furman is the author of several popular books, including Missional Motherhood, Glimpses of Grace, and Alive in Him. Her latest release, A Tale of Two Kings, teaches children about God’s incredible plan for redemption through Christ Jesus. Gloria lives in the Middle East where her husband, Dave, is the pastor of Redeemer Church of Dubai.