I want to lunge in front of any challenge or hurt coming my kids’ way.

Protect them. Find a way to stop any hurt. But I’m learning to restrain myself. I’ve seen the fruit that comes from working through challenges and hurdles. That there is sometimes a greater purpose there than I can see.

Last week, I heard a speaker, Micah Corder, say, “If your goal is to keep your kids from sadness and broken hearts, you will fail. Experiencing that is inevitable. But if your goal is that your loved ones experience the glory of God, you are giving a gift that your kids will enjoy forever.”

Micah relayed the story of Lazarus dying and how his family wept for him. When Lazarus’ sister Martha ran out to see Jesus, she was frustrated that Jesus did not make it in time to heal her brother, but she also admitted,

“I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” (JN 11:22)

Jesus could have taken away the pain by healing Lazarus before he died. Why did he wait? Jesus’ main concern seemed to be for God to be glorified and for faith in Him when he asked, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” While Lazarus’ family and friends experienced pain, Jesus had a greater purpose in mind.

One of the most difficult moments for me is to see my children hurt. I want to intercept any pain or difficulty. But, I know that this place isn’t perfect. At some point in their lives pain will happen. If we can help them navigate through it, as well as call out to the Lord and be with them in it, God indeed will be glorified.

Is our main concern for constant contentment or for God to be glorified?

This question challenged me this year. Kindergarten was seamless. First grade was not. I struggled. I struggled deeply with how to handle the anxiety that surfaced in my daughter. Through many tears at bedtime, we talked through it. She picked out a special stuffed animal to comfort her through the season of anxiety and named her “Peace”. It reminded her that Jesus’ lasting peace is greater than all else, and at bedtime she holds Peace close. She overcame this hurdle, and it has strengthened her for the next one.

I also thought about why Jesus cried when he already knew Lazarus would be raised to life shortly. His spirit was “moved and troubled” by Lazarus’ family and friend’s pain, and he wept with them. Jesus did not solely look upward. He also looked next to him. He noticed. He cared deeply. And He cares now. He cares for you. He cares for your child. He cares so much that He wants us to taste, see, and experience the redemptive, grace-filled, and unending love of God.

And sometimes that involves experiencing pain. But, we can take hope in the fact that this pain won’t last forever because “joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). God offers us a joy not based on the now, but based on His love.

The next time our children walk through difficulty, we can lunge to extinguish it with all our might, or we can weep with them, encourage them to look upward, and look for God to be glorified – the greatest gift we can give our children.

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