O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. – Psalm 131:1
As a new mom, I was terrified to care for my beautiful infant son. The responsibility far outweighed my confidence, and I was sure I would ruin his life before his first birthday. I rarely simply relaxed, gazing at his sweet face and enjoying the miracle. Sometimes I managed to, but more often my stomach was in knots as I fretted over my inability to protect him from my mistakes. My driven temperament spurred on by motherly love, I didn’t even question my need to do the job perfectly. I tried in vain to appease the implacable results idol.
Some responsibilities are so consequential that they push us to either denial or dependence on God’s power. Denial has to be the bane of parenting. Parents in denial cannot see properly to guide a child through life’s ups and downs. There’s no need for denial when we realize that we are only responsible to depend on God today; tomorrow’s results are up to him. And Scripture shows us what God can do through our dependence.
The apostle Paul bore the responsibility of planting at least 14 churches, enduring severe persecution, shipwreck, hunger, beatings, and more. At times, he felt “so utterly burdened beyond (his) strength that (he) despaired of life itself.” (2 Corinthians 1:8) But he realized “that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (v. 9) Paul’s dependent obedience produced results far beyond what he could have imagined. His letters comprise almost the entire New Testament. They continue to change lives 2,000 years after Paul lived.
And Jesus, of course, undertook to save the world – the only superhero who actually existed! He left us a perfect example, not of great strategizing or careful planning, but of simple, daily dependence on God. Following his Father’s plan step by step, he paid for the sins of the world, redeeming anyone who trusts in him.
It’s a lot easier to obey God today, trusting that he will use everything we do for our children in ways beyond what we can presently imagine. We can enjoy today and leave the results of our parenting to God. He has the master plan.