How to Trust God with Your Children

One of my daughters used to come to me as a toddler and say, “In the air, Daddy, in the air!” She wanted me to hurl her up and catch her. I did so to her utter delight. My other daughter saw this and asked me to toss her too. Yet as she leveled off, her face contorted into sheer terror.

Do you trust God to catch your children?

(Photo: Design Pics, via Vivozoom)

When I caught her, she clung to me with all four limbs and begged, “No, not again!”

Later I considered why the same flight gave joy to one and terrorized the other.

  • One focused on my ability to catch her.
  • The other focused on her inability to control the flight.

We do the same thing with God.

God Does the Tossing

As my daughters become young women, I find myself in a similar situation. I still see them hurled in the air, but instead of me doing the tossing and catching, God the Father flings them while I helplessly watch from a distance.

In those moments I become acutely aware of the struggle between my confidence in the Lord’s ability versus my own.

Every parent faces this tension.

  • We want our children to follow Christ, but we hesitate to let Him lead them.
  • We want to provide, protect, and direct our children so that they will receive the good we desire for them.
  • In a strange irony, the very love that wants the best for them becomes the barrier that keeps our children from receiving it.

Jacob faced a similar challenge. In the midst of a famine, he sent his sons to Egypt to buy grain. But one son he refused to send:

Jacob did not send Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, with the others because he was afraid that harm might come to him. —Genesis 42:4

The Lord’s sovereign orchestration of events wrenched Benjamin from Jacob’s arms and forced him to do what he would never do otherwise: trust God with his sons.

God used grain to get Jacob to release his son.

(Photo: God used grain to get Jacob to release his son. Photo by Go2anna (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons)

From this we learn we can hold nothing—not even a child—more dear than our trust in God.

  • If we really trust God, we will rest in the assurance that our sons and daughters remain as safe in harm’s way as in their beds at home.
  • On the other hand, if the Father allows our children to go before us to heaven, no amount of protection will prevent such circumstances.
  • We will seldom experience the peace we seek without surrendering to the Lord that for which we pray.
  • Ultimately our comfort cannot come from the assurance that the Lord will protect our children, ironic as it sounds. Our comfort comes when we trust God who remains in complete control and who will accomplish His good purposes even in the worst circumstances.

I confess these principles come easier to write than to do. As I watch God toss my daughters in the air, I tend to focus on my inability to control the flight instead of the Father’s ability to catch them. In this I find a gnawing conviction that I would rather feel in control than to trust God to guard and guide the future of my daughters.

Trusting God with the Flight

Such is the challenge of all believing parents. Our love for our children grows to resemble the Lord’s love for them when we trust God and allow Him to lead them as He chooses.

God’s sovereignty demands our surrender, yes.

But as we surrender and trust God, we bow not in an admission of defeat, but in an act of worship.

Tell me what you think: What have you found that helps you trust God with your children when you have no control? To leave a comment, just click here.

Adapted from Wayne Stiles, “In Good Hands,” (Kindred Spirit: Fall 2006 vol. 30, no. 3)

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  • Sunni

    You said, ” if the Father allows our children to go before us to heaven, no amount of protection will prevent such circumstances.” I totally agree with this, and if I knew my children were on their way to heaven then I would know that God has promised to work all things out for their good, because they would love God and have been called by God. Trusting God in this instance woudl be hard, but I would have his promises to hang on to. But my children have not yet trusted in Christ, and I’m struggling to trust God for the salvation of my kids. Mainly
    because I have found nowhere in scripture that God *promises* to save
    them. The principle that Proverbs 22:6
    gives is not a promise, just a likely outcome. Many people say “trust
    God with your child’s salvation because he loves them even more than you
    do” – while this is true, he also loves all the people who end up in
    hell exactly the same way that he loves my children, so I can’t really
    hang on to that as comfort. I know, and believe that God is faithful to
    all his promises, I just don’t have one to hang on to when it comes to
    the salvation of my children, and I’m really struggling with that. Do you have any suggestions on how I can trust God with the salvation of my children when the possiblity exists that he might not save them?

    • Your theology is right on, Sunni, and you’re right—there is no passage that guarantees the salvation of anyone. Each person makes his or her choice. That decision is balanced by the inexplicable oversight of God’s election. 1 Cor. 7:14 describes children in the home of at least one believer as “holy” in the sense that they are exposed to truth and are “set apart” by the believing parent’s influence and presence.
      It’s not easy, Sunni, I admit. But I think you’ll have to find comfort and peace in God’s sovereignty rather than in a certain outcome. And yet, because that outcome is veiled, never ever give up hope that your prayers and your presence are part of what God may use to bring your kids to faith. Many biblical examples, from King Manasseh to the thief on the cross, reveal that God’s plan of salvation for some waits until the end of life. Your kids are blessed to have your prayers.

      • Sunni

        Thank you Wayne, for your reply. I think that trying to find comfort and peace in God’s sovereignty will be harder for me than trusting his promises, but will deepen my faith, which is likely one reason that God is allowing me to struggle with this. Thank you for suggesting it.

        • Mark D. Miller

          I also have spent too many hours/days freaked out/anxious depressed and hopeless over the fears that this or that child might be torn from our lives and into eternity. The only thing that keeps me sane is God’s sovereignty and just a raw trust in his ordering of all things. It breaks my heart to have to give EVERYONE that I love deeply over to the Lord. Then it saddens me that I somehow think they were MINE to maintain alive and well in the first place. We have them on loan from the father. Hard to swallow and a real crucible of faith. But also so much peace when it is accepted, and an act of worship when it’s laid down like Isaac for Him. Lord increase my faith.

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