What If He Gets Lost?
“LORD, You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future.” Psalm 16:5 (HCSB)
There he went. Just like that.
With his eyes fixed on the journey before him, he didn’t have time to look back. Confidence and anticipation pushed his feet faster. It was all he could do to keep from breaking into a full sprint.
His dad walked beside him, likely instilling one more value, one more reminder of how to handle life on his own. And, really, it wasn’t life on his own, just his first taste of life apart from family.
My son recently went to his first overnight camp. For a week, my pre-teen would enjoy the fellowship of Christian comrades and counselors along with many adventurous outdoor activities and challenges.
And though I knew this camp, I knew the people and I knew we were doing something good for our son, my heart strings stretched. We walked him to his cabin, made his bed and lingered in his room. In fact, we stayed so long it prompted our son to ask, “When are y’all leaving?”
I took a deep breath, issued one last hug, then started the long walk to the car without my baby. As I walked, I worried.
Who will tell him when it’s time for dinner? Who will sit next to him and rub his back while he prays? Who will ask questions to be sure he’s okay?
As I brought my concerns to Jesus, He reminded me of my cat. Well, more like our cat and his relationship with the aforementioned son.
See, Jonah, our son, makes it his business to watch over Chief, the cat. It concerns Jonah when Chief wanders outside. But Chief likes to be outside. So, at the slightest crack of the door, Chief bolts.
He does what cats do outdoors. He chases lizards and pounces on things only he can see. Chief basks in the sunlight and sprawls out in the grass. He lives free and fulfilled — right up until the moment Jonah sees him.
Then, it’s on.
Cat dodges the first lunge. Jonah regroups. Cat hides behind a bush. Jonah reevaluates. This goes on until the cat calls it quits and lets the eager boy scoop him up and carry him back into the house … where Jonah thinks Chief belongs.
It doesn’t bother anyone else for the cat to enjoy the outdoors, so I’ve asked Jonah, “Why won’t you let him stay out? He’s fine.”
“What if he gets lost, Mom?” Jonah answers with angst in his spirit. Nothing I say or do will change his mind.
The funny thing is Chief doesn’t get lost. He never has. In fact, he never really wanders too far from the house. Most days, he lays near the door or even right under my feet if I’m outside. He likes to be around his family, but he also likes the freedom to be a cat.
Just like my Jonah.
I think being a parent might just be the greatest trust exercise we’ll ever attempt. These kids, they’re like pieces of our hearts running around on the street. We instinctively protect. We run ahead and consider everything that could hurt, damage or mishandle them. But, Chief taught me something.
Sometimes, our kids just need freedom. Freedom to become who God made them to be. Freedom to seek God for themselves.
In our key verse, the psalmist praises the Lord for His provision over the present and the future, “You are my portion and my cup of blessing; You hold my future” (Psalm 16:5).
I’ve witnessed God provide for me, bless me and line out a future for me. And I can trust He’ll do it for my children, too. Because He is faithful and loves our children more than even we do, we can release our children into God’s care as they grow into His plans.
If your little one is growing up way too fast, rest in this today: God is his portion. God is his blessing. God holds his future.
Does my son still need me? Absolutely! As parents we have a big job that requires daily patience and teaching. But our children need God and His promises even more than they need us. And for that, we can be thankful.
Dear God, I’ve seen You move and work so often in my own life. Help me trust the same provision I’ve witnessed from Your hand is at work in the lives of my children. As they grow each day, draw them nearer to You. May they feast on Your portion, rejoice in Your blessing and trust in You for their future. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
2 Corinthians 12:9, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What’s one situation you’re facing with your child that causes you to worry? Write it in a journal or on a notecard along with two to three specific things you have to be thankful for concerning this child.
Present your request to God, seasoning it with your thanksgiving, and ask God to help you release your child and this situation into His grip.