Many will recognize these words as from Jesus:
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.
"Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and ...." (Luke 15:11-13 NIV)
For today let's consider only this part of the story.
That last sentence represents every parent's worst nightmare. God placed this precious little child in your care while you were still learning to take care of yourself. You did your best to teach him what is right and wrong. You gave him the gift of love. You nurtured him as best you could. You sheltered him from danger as much as possible. You provided him with every reasonable advantage that you could afford. You did everything, at least everything you knew to do, to prepare your child to be independent, strong, a person of character, and to live out the plan God had in mind from the miraculous conception of your son.
Then one day, he got together all his possessions — and even some of yours — and then set off for a distant country.
She was the little girl of your dreams. You recall the moment when the nurse placed her in your arms as one of the happiest moments of your life. She was the answer to your prayers. She did everything little girls are supposed to do. You did everything parents are supposed to do to insure that little girls grow up to be godly women. You loved her with all your heart. You prayed for wisdom and did all you could to pass that wisdom on to her. You did everything, at least everything you knew to do, to prepare her to be independent, strong, a woman of character, and to live out the plan God had in mind for her from the beginning.
Then, one day, she got together all she had and set off for a distant country.
Is there a more helpless moment for a parent?
The events of April 16 on the Virginia Tech campus serve as yet another tragic reminder that things can happen quickly, that life can change in the blink of an eye, and that once our kids set off for that distant country, they are beyond our control and beyond our protection — as if they really were under control when they were at home.
Is there any greater pain that what a parent feels for their children when they hurt ... or worse than hurt?
As you finish this article today, please say a prayer for the families of all those who lost loved ones last week at Virginia Tech, in Iraq, the genocide of Rwanda 13 years ago, the atrocities in other places around the world. Then, say a prayer for your child.
Father, we call out to you for those who lost a son or a daughter at Virginia Tech. I ask that You comfort them with Your presence and Your people and Your love and with Your Spirit.
Father, thank You for trusting us to love and protect these gifts from you for as long as we are granted that opportunity. When they reach the age that they get together all they have and set off for a distant country, help us to have the courage to let them go. And I thank You for the assurance that You will always go with them and will always be there for them.
Thank you for hearing the prayer of hearts. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Father, thank You for our children. Please protect them.