My oldest child turned thirty on Sunday.
I found this letter in his baby book. I wrote it over thirty years ago, while we were waiting for him to arrive, before we knew if he was Daniel or Katie Beth. Reading through the letter, I was once again amazed at God’s faithfulness and grace. He has answered these prayers. His hand has been on my son, sustaining his life, forming his character, directing his path.
What undeserved blessing He chooses to pour on us! Here is what I wrote so many years ago:
Riding home on the bus the other day, I realized that I had never entertained the notion that you would become some great musical or artistic genius, mathematical wizard, or brilliant scientist. My main hope is that you will mature into a man or woman of character and integrity, that your life will be a reflection of Christ’s character and the principles of Scripture. My only real disappointment would be in seeing you reject the gift of salvation that Christ provided for us in His death and resurrection…Be what God designed you to be while here on earth — a happy toddler, an obedient child, a faithful student, a loyal friend, a doctor, a janitor, a housewife, a zookeeper, a songwriter, a missionary…Just do whatever you do to glorify Him and bring honor to His name.
I pray that you will develop a love for the Word that will give you the wisdom to discern between good and evil,
that you will have the strength of character to stand up for what you know is right, and to shun what you know is wrong,
that you will be faithful and reliable in your friendships and responsibilities,
that you will learn discipline and self-control as you learn to submit to the authorities God places over you in life,
that you will learn to rest in God’s faithfulness in all situations,
that you will exercise the great gift of creativity, imagination, and thinking that God has passed on to you,
that you will be a joyful, bright and shining light in a dark world.
I can see that I have a lot of growing up to do along with you.
Praise God! He has so graciously answered this prayer!
He is faithful.
He is faithful even when it doesn’t look like He is answering our prayers.
I was hesitant to write this post that praises God for the work He has done in my son’s life. I was hesitant, because I know many parents do not see their children walking in the faith. Many live with deep disappointment. Many wonder what went wrong. Many blame themselves for their children’s choices. Many pray fervently for children who live in rebellion against God, and still they see no change.
But God does answer all our prayers. He just doesn’t answer them all with a yes. He sees a much bigger picture than we do, and knows exactly what He is doing. I have a hard time remembering that sometimes, especially if it involves people that I love. God is not ignoring the “unanswered” prayers I have prayed. He is in the process of answering them in the way He knows is best. Sometimes He’s helping me see something I need to deal with in my own life. Other times I think He’s just helping me find out if I really trust Him or not.
He loves our children even more than we do. They are ultimately in His hands. He is in control. We can pray, trusting Him, and knowing that He will work all things for His glory and our good. We can rest in that truth.