Friday, July 31
“My son, be attentive to my wisdom; incline your ear to my understanding.” Proverbs 5:1
“My son…”. Those two words changed my life 20 years ago. I think the first instinct of new parents is to protect their child from everything and everyone that might hurt them. The first promise we make as parents is to be the best parents we can be. We’re scared because we have no clue how to raise a child and yet, a few days later, we’re being kicked out of the hospital. This newborn can’t use words to tell you what they want and you spend a lot of time guessing and learning their “language”. [One day, when they are fully capable of using words to express themselves you might look back fondly at this time when they couldn’t…]
“My son…”. We can find this expression more times in the book of Proverbs than possibly anywhere else in the Bible. This month, reading Proverbs through the devotions, I have seen it many times… In my mind, it plays as a father inviting his son into a conversation. No, I am not going to talk about adultery here now but imagine any situation that can turn into trouble.
As we try to be the best parents we can, we gradually do less for our children and give them more independence. We go from cutting their food into itty-bitty pieces and feeding them to teaching them how to use utensils to feed themselves… How much time did that save you at meals once the kids could feed themselves? Of course, they could also complain about the menu but, you know, trade-offs…
“My son…”. It repeats itself so often that I believe it suggests several conversations happening over the course of time we have with our kids. This father in Proverbs continually invites his son to learn from him, from his experience(s).
Proverbs 1:8 (ERV)
“8 My son,[a] listen to your father when he corrects you, and don’t ignore what your mother teaches you.
Proverbs 6:20-21a (ERV)
“20 My son, remember your father’s command, and don’t forget your mother’s teaching. 21 Remember their words always.
Proverbs 7:1 (ERV)
“1 My son, remember my words. Don’t forget what I have told you.”
As our children grow, we realize our desire to protect them doesn’t decrease but our ability to protect them does… You see, at some point — despite all the conversations, advice, and warnings — they will make their own decisions. They will not be the decisions you would have made or the ones you hoped they would make. There might be some hurt and pain… for them, for you. We will sometimes feel like our kids look like the one described below:
Proverbs 7:22-23 (ERV)
“22 He followed her, like a bull being led to the slaughter. He was like a deer walking into a trap, 23 where a hunter waits to shoot an arrow through its heart. The boy was like a bird flying into a net, never seeing the danger he was in.”
Flirting with trouble will always have consequences. Sometimes they might be more severe than other times. In those times, I have to trust that the Father that loves them more than I do, has a plan to redeem those moments when I think I know best.
Are you willing to trust in Him like that?
Alex Soares, Guest Writer
Alex is a dad to 3 kids ages 15-20 and the husband of Suzi Soares (Family & Special Needs Pastor). He grew up as a pastor’s kid in Brazil and came to the US to study violin performance in college. After becoming a dad, he changed his definition of success to “having those who know you best respect you the most” since it’s easy to impress people from a distance. He also holds the distinguished honor of having volunteered in every Liquid Family volunteer role (*wink, wink*).
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