Parenting – From Heaven’s Point Of View

Sometimes we have to get our head out of the clouds, but then there are times when we need get them back up there and breathe in a little bit of heaven.  It’s particularly helpful when changing a diaper.  If you need a breath of fresh air right now because of troubles in raising your kids, join me for a look at parenting – from heaven’s point of view. (Recorded August 8, 1999)

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Message Notes

“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5).

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).”

Outline

As a parent, we have at least two things to look forward to in heaven!  If you have a newborn baby, you’ll be glad to know that the Bible says that in heaven, there will be no more crying!

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Second, God’s planned a special event in heaven, and I think he may have done it just for parents:

“When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour (Revelation 8:1).

Now that’s heaven from a parent’s point of view!

No matter what age your children are, it’s easy to lose heaven’s perspective on parenting.  Our eyes are so often looking down (changing a diaper, disciplining a teenager, dealing with a grown child’s divorce) that it makes it hard to focus on God’s perspective.

I want to give you a breather today…help you come up for air!  To help you get your head in the clouds for a little bit and take a deep breath.  To let God give you his perspective on parenting.

1.  Children are a gift from God: treat them as gifts.

There are some things in the Bible that are obvious…love God, love your neighbor…and yet there are others that aren’t.  For instance, “If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39).  That’s not an obvious approach to life.  We have to be told to do that because we’d never come up with it on our own.

In the same way, God put this verse in the Bible to tell us something that we often forget:

“Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5).

Children are a gift from God, but sometimes we wonder if maybe they were sent as a curse!  I assure you they haven’t been.  But it’s worth reminding ourselves that they are gifts from God.  Jacob did this when he was asked who were the people with him.  Jacob answered,

“They are the children God has graciously given your servant” (Genesis 33:5b).

We can read this and believe it, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it.

We homeschool our kids, and the recent addition of our 1 year old to the mix of teaching the other 3 has thrown a monkey wrench into the schedule.  He requires so much time and attention.

As I was praying about what we could do to relieve some of this “complication,” I ran across a scripture that I had marked in my Bible on September 25th, 1997.  The verse was

John 10:10:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

At that time, we had just had our 4th miscarriage in a row.  It was a very difficult time.  And we just found out we were expecting again.  I wrote in the margin of my Bible, next to the verse where Jesus said he came to give us life to the full, “Lord, I pray this for our baby.”  Then next to that was another note on September 24th, 1997: “again today Lord.”

That baby that I had been praying for was our little one year old.  The one I was now praying about how to deal with this “complication” in our lives.  So I wrote in the margin: “Thank you Lord 8/4/99 for he was born 5/21/98.”

God brought me back to his perspective…through his word, and through those notes I had written and forgotten about almost 2 years ago.

When I married Lana, I wrote this in my vows.  “Lana, you are a gift from God, and I plan to treat you as a gift.”  It’s the same with our children.  They are gifts from God, and God wants us to treat them as gifts.

2.  Children are spiritual beings: don’t neglect their spiritual life.

A french priest, Teilhard de Chardin, said, “We’re not just human beings having a temporary spiritual experience. But we’re spiritual beings having a temporary human experience.”

Sometimes we get so focused on the “here and now” that we forget there’s a spiritual aspect to our parenting.  God wants us to help our kids come to Jesus, and not to hinder them in this.  Jesus said:

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14-15).

Encourage them in their spiritual growth.  Encourage them to read the Bible, go to church, go to Sunday School.  Encourage them to pray at meals, at bedtime, and in times of trouble.

And mostly, let them see you doing all these things.

Growing up, we always prayed before meals.  I’ve told my Dad that his example in this has stuck with me all these years.  I pray before every meal, whether in public or in private, because I just don’t feel right if I don’t.  That was the way we grew up.  The Bible says:

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).

God has a way of bringing kids back around as they grow older.  Keep focusing on their spiritual lives.  It will be well worth it in the end.

3.  Children belong to God: entrust them to his care.

There’s one more word of comfort I want to give.  After we’ve done the best we can do as parents, and our children aren’t turning out the way we’d hoped, what can we do then?

The same answer applies whether or not the kids are turning out as we had hoped.  It is an answer that is rooted in heaven’s view of parenting:  ultimately, our children belong to God.  We are all children of God.

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a).

In the view of eternity, and even our time here on earth, our children are in our care for a very short amount of time.  God needs our human hands, but our children are ultimately his.

God needed Mary and Joseph to raise Jesus.  A baby in the manger wouldn’t have lasted even a day without them!  But Jesus always referred to his Father as the one who was in heaven.  And in the Lord’s prayer, he instructs us to do the same when we say, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” (Matthew 6:9, ASV).

There is a point where we must consciously entrust our children to God’s care.  Where we must say, “Lord, I give you this child.”  That may be early on in their lives, like it was for Hannah:

After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh.

When they had slaughtered the bull, they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, “As surely as you live, my lord, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the LORD. I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there. (1 Samuel 1:24-28)

She literally gave him to the Lord, to live with the priests.  And notice in the rest of the passage that those priests weren’t the greatest in the world.  Eli was the one who had told her to get out cause she looked like she was drunk, then later he died when his own kids went astray.

But she wasn’t giving Samuel to Eli, she was giving him to the Lord, and the Lord was the one who cared for Samuel, and raised him up to be a great man of God.

There’s great comfort in this, that we can entrust our children to the Lord, regardless of their circumstances.  It may look terrible all around them, and they may even be straying as well.  But we can continue to pray that God will Father them, guide them, and bring them back to His ways and His plans for their lives.

Our children are gifts from God, spiritual beings, who can be entrusted to his care.

Closing and Prayer

I’d like to pray for you as parents, and then lead you in a prayer for our children.

(If you don’t know that you’re a child of God, or if you don’t feel much like one today, you might want to talk to visit Lover’s Leap below.)

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