God Loves Our Little Children

Willow Creek | June 1, 2021

This past weekend, Miguel De La Mora gave a message on parenting, using Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son. We love the story of the prodigal son, how the son leaves his father, squanders his inheritance, hits rock bottom, and then returns to his father only to be met with compassion and mercy. What a great parable of amazing grace and unending love. However, as much as we might love the story, we often shy away from it when it’s time for us to play the role of the father. 


During his message, Miguel broke down the timeline of roles parents play, from caregiver to cop to coach to consultant; but many parents get caught in the role of cop because it’s easier to say “yes” and “no” instead of backing away and letting our kids live their lives on their own. And why? Because we’re all absolutely terrified of becoming the father of the prodigal son. 


Who would want to see their child take wrong turns, make bad decisions, or maybe even back away from God? We love our children, and we want what’s best for them, but we cannot live their lives for them. Miguel told us how we can better transition from being the cop (saying “yes” and “no”) to becoming the coach and consultant (more of a guide): surrender.


By surrendering, parents, we’re not saying we don’t love our kids, but we’re saying we trust God. At some point, it’s time to back away and trust what we’ve done as parents and trust what God has done, and will continue to do, in their lives. 


As we’re in the midst of graduation season–preschool, elementary, junior high, high school, and college–a lot of us parents are asking what will happen next for our graduates? Will they be able to survive college on their own? Will they be able to jump into the work world? Will they make the decisions we would make if we were them?


As a parent, we can only do so much; we can raise them the best we can, show them God’s love through us, but ultimately it’s up to them. We have to let go and surrender them to God, as hard as that can be. 


Here’s a truth about our God: He loves our children more than we ever could. God wants them to thrive, succeed, and follow Him. He has amazing plans for them. He wants what’s best for them. And when they fail–which at some point they will–God has enough grace for them because He’s the father of the prodigal son, which is all of us. 


Whether we’re parents of kids or adults, let’s remember to continually practice surrender. Let’s do our best raising our kids, but let’s also trust God has His eyes on them. Let’s believe scripture when it says God knows the number of hairs on their head (Luke 12:7). Let’s also believe the truth that God loves our kids so much He sent His only Son to die in their place. 


Although our kids may be miles or states away, on mountains or in the valleys, God is there with them. He sees them. He knows them. And He loves them.