For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. ~Ezekiel 18:4
Let's face it, some things in Scripture are just downright disturbing. Oh, maybe not disturbing in a chaotic, random, hopeless, makes no sense kind of way, but disturbing in a challenging, unsettling, disorienting and reorienting kind of way. And this is definitely one of those things: our children belong to God and not to us. We do not own them, nor can we save them. And they cannot save us.
We cannot save them from grief and sorrow and sadness. We cannot save them from sickness and struggle and pain. We cannot save them from hurt and hardship and brokenness; as much as we might like to think that we can.
And they cannot save us. They cannot save us from loneliness and isolation and despair. They cannot save us from fear and anxiety and insecurity. They cannot save us from feelings of insignificance and unimportance and unworthiness. And when we demand or expect them to, it can get ugly really fast. Because our children belong fully to God, and not to us. Therefore, we must learn to love them well, but we must also learn to hold them loosely.
My sense is that most of us try to get something from our children that they were never intended to give. In fact, if we do not get from God, what only he is designed to give us, then we will try to get it from our spouses. And if we do not get it from our spouses, we will try to get it from our children. And if we do not get it from our children, we will try to get it from our world--and so goes the downward spiral. When we live our lives needing and demanding something from the people in our world that they were never designed to fully give, it always leads to dysfunction--unhealthy dependence or enmeshment with those in our lives and world. Each one of us, first and foremost, belongs to God. It is he alone that can meet us at our point of deepest need. And only when we allow him to fully meet us there can we ever hope to be able to truly love those in our families, our lives, and our world without needing to control or manipulate them.
O God, let me never seek (or demand) from someone else what you alone can give.
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