Kissimmee, Florida is right in the middle of some of Florida's most exciting tourist attractions - so it's usually associated with happy times. But in February of '98 the headlines were about tragedy in Kissimmee, with 38 people killed in the deadliest tornado outbreak in the state's history. In its lead front page story, USA Today told about one couple who cowered in horror, it says, "as their house literally broke apart around them. The garage door blew open and tore away. The door into the kitchen opened, and the wind sucked like a vacuum cleaner, pulling their five-year-old daughter, Elissa, away. Her dad said, 'She was horizontal, and my wife was holding onto her legs. There was all this glass and everything started to disappear, all the furniture, the insides of the walls. If my wife had let go of Elissa, we wouldn't have been able to find her.' But Judy's grip held. And in a few moments, the tornado had passed and Elissa was safe in her arms."
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "Holding Onto Your Child In The Storm."
If you're a parent, you may know that feeling. Because these are unusually stormy times in which to be raising a son or daughter. And sometimes you feel like all that's swirling around them threatens to take them away. There are so many mistakes they can make, so many mistakes we can make. There may be days when you feel like you're hanging on for dear life.
Well, our word for today form the Word of God is a great parent Scripture. 2 Timothy 1:7 says this, "God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline." God doesn't want your parent-heart to be a fearful heart. In fact, He has made this strong promise to parents in Isaiah 54:13 (I love this), "All your children will be taught of the Lord; and great will be the peace of your children."
You can keep your child from being torn away by the storm. Take time to casually debrief each day with them. Give them boundaries with positive reasons - not just boundaries. Focus on today - not the problems of yesterday or the prospects of tomorrow. Make your home an island of sanity in an insane world. And each new day give that child back to the God who gave you that child in the first place.
The ultimate secret of holding onto your child in the storm is - in a sense - letting go. After the writer talk about having a spirit of power and love instead of a spirit of fear, he tells how that's possible with so much at stake. He's talking about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ when he says, "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what (or who) I have entrusted to Him" (2 Timothy 1:12). There is a relationship that provides a life-anchor - for anyone, but especially for parents raising children in stormy times. If you have begun that personal love-relationship with Jesus the Savior, you can commit your precious child to Him - and He will hang onto them as you never could.
But first Jesus has to be hanging onto you. There is nothing like being a parent to make you aware of your own need for help, for the power to change, for forgiveness, for inner healing. And Jesus is a Mom's Savior, a Dad's Savior. He died on the cross to pay for all the sinning you and I have ever done, to tear down the wall between God and us, and to open up all God's love and all God's power to you as a Mom and Dad.
It isn't easy to keep your child from being taken away in a stormy world. But you can hang onto your son or daughter if you have the Son of God hanging onto you.