Saturday, February 21, 2009

Growing in Grace

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Psalm 127:3

Children are seeds from the Lord. God blesses parents with seeds to raise in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Parents are commanded to train the next generation in His ways.

As I face the letting go of my children into adulthood, I noticed some striking parallels between how a seed grow and our children lives.

Every seed has the potential to become something extraordinary. Within each seed is a host of promise. To reach their full potential, seeds need water, soil and sunshine in order to grow. Likewise, the fruit of our loins requires water, soil and sunshine to grow.

The first thing that strikes me is how a seed must be buried, essentially die, before it can ever grow. I can buy seeds from the store, set them on my window sill but they will never begin the growth process unless I place them into the soil allowing a small radicle to reach down into that soil for nutrition. Consequently this allows their root system to ground them.

First parallel: Parents must labor in the garden of their children's lives. Prepare the soil by rooting yourself in the Lord. Then, realize your children are a gift from God created for a specific purpose in His plan. What should we do with our gifts from God except place them in His loving care from the onset? We place this seed from the Lord right into the soil of His Word, His love and His care. We know that as much as we love our seedlings, God made them and loves them immeasurably more. Parents must not hold on too tightly lest we choke the life from our seedling causing our seedling's growth to be stunted. Parents must gently support their children with prayer, training in righteousness, constantly modeling our faith in God and His ways each moment. We must lay our children at the throne of God's grace and trust Him to grow this seed into a mighty oak.

For growth, seed need to be nourished. Enriched soil is best and fresh water daily help to awaken the seed below the ground. Soon a tiny radicle will break through the hard encasement and search for life giving nutrition.

Next parallel: In this quiet place, the growing years, amongst the rich soil of God's love and care, He will nourish them with his food. He will feed them upon the Bread of Life, saturate them in the water of His Holy Spirit. Our seeds will germinate below the surface; you will not really see it happening. You may catch glimpses of this transformation, but for the most part you must trust His love and care. He has written His commands upon their hearts and He will complete the work He has begun.

Seeds also require adequate sunlight for growth.

Another parallel: It is only in the Light that a child seed will grow to their full potential, their true purpose. A seed needs sunshine; a child needs the Son, the Light of the world. Our children may grow up in Sunday school, learn all the stories of the Bible but inevitably, they must develop their own person relationship with their Savior. Our faith cannot be a crutch for them. They must come to terms with their own faith. They must learn to fully depend on His wisdom, His Counsel, His Grace and Goodness. They must lean on Jesus themselves for their strength, nourishment, guidance, peace.

Child seeds are among the slowest growing and after years of tending, this precious seedling grows into a young plant. Once their roots are firmly established in Christ, how can we know how deep their roots go? Wind. A tree firmly rooted will withstand the winds of adversity. In fact, those winds actually lend themselves to strengthen that tree. This period requires perseverance. The growth may be may be painful. Sometimes heartache and heartbreak will be experienced for both the child and the parents. These winds of adversity are necessary to build character and produce endurance. Faith is tested and strengthen as our children learn to rely more and more on Jesus. The Holy Spirit continues to saturate them with the Living Water. They will continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of their Savior. They begin to shoot up, resilient. They will persevere through the storms of life because they are firmly rooted in Christ Jesus and nothing will snatch them from His hand.

This growth process is never really ending. It isn't even a step by step process. It all happens simultaneously, every moment. Even as we parents are still growing in grace, so will our children. They will make mistakes, they will choose paths you never dreamed of, they will form opinions that may not match your own. Just as we parents, guided by the Holy Spirit, strive to become more like our Savior through sanctification, so too will our children learn to die to themselves, nail their selfish ways to His cross, find their nourishment from His Holy Word, refreshment from His Holy Spirit, strength for the journey and refuge from the storms of life. Like a friend of mine says, our children will "learn to die so that He may live." The fruit of His Spirit will become evident as they rely on Him to supply their needs. They will accomplish the purpose for which God has created them as He works out the plan for their lives according to the counsel of His will for His glory.

God is with us all each step of the way. He is with us now; He is already there in the future as He has always been in the past. In Him we live and breathe and have our being. On Him we depend.

1 comment: