Thursday, March 23, 2006
It was so dramatic that the cable news networks just kept replaying the video. A mother and her baby were trapped in a burning building. Some people saw the mother leaning out of the second story window with her baby in her arms, desperately trying to save him from both the smoke and the fire. The news video showed three people standing directly beneath that window, ready to catch the infant. It was an agonizing choice for that mother. If she held onto her baby, if she let him go, either way she risked his life. Finally, painfully, she released her baby and dropped him toward the people waiting underneath. It was breathtaking to see one man catch that little guy in his hands. It just so happens that he plays softball and he's a catcher. That baby's fine because a mother made a hard but life-saving choice.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Save Your Child."
In a later interview, a tearful mother explained the decision she had made about her son. She said, "I had to let go of my baby to save him." That's a choice many parents have had to make over the years, and maybe a choice you're facing right now. The only way to save your child may be to let him go, to let her go. And that's not easy for many of us, because we're far more prone to try to control our son or daughter than to release them. It may be because we love them, but it may not be the most loving thing we can do. It's often in what we do to hang onto a child that we actually damage or destroy that child.
The Bible gives us a beautiful example of releasing the child you love in our word for today from the Word of God. Hannah has shed tears for years because she cannot bear a child. Then God responds to her cries and sends her a son named Samuel; who will one day be God's man to lead His people. We can only imagine how much Hannah must have wanted to hang onto this precious son that she'd waited for so long. But listen to her prayer in 1 Samuel 1:27-28; a prayer that might change things in the life of your son or daughter. "'I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.' And he worshiped the Lord there."
A mother who deeply loves her child loves him enough to release him into the hands of God. When we choose instead to try to control our daughter or son, we start using approaches that are more likely to ruin their life than to run it. We nag. We shame. We manipulate. We know the child we wanted, and we do whatever we can to shape him or her into that child instead of celebrating the child God gave us and nurturing who that child is; not trying to re-create him into something they're not.
I was speaking at a conference where a lady came to me and afterward reminded me of when I had spoken there ten years before. She told me that I'd given an opportunity for people to come forward and surrender some part of their life they'd refused to give to Jesus. She said, "That night I surrendered my nine-year-old daughter to the Lord. She wasn't turning out the way I wanted, especially spiritually. I had tried everything to control her. That night, I just released her to the Lord. The next day she came to me and said something she'd never said, 'Mom, can we read the Bible together?'" Then that Mom melted down as she said, "And today she's finishing her first year at a Christian college, training for a life in God's work." See, God can do with our surrender what we could never do with our control.
When we hold onto our child, we create a rebel or a robot. When we release our child to the God who gave that child to us, we cooperate with the great plan for which our child was created. Almost every religion in the world has some kind of ceremony where a newborn child is given back to the Creator. We did that in a dedication service with each of our three children. But that needs to happen every day of their life; giving them back to the One who gave him or her to us.
If your child is struggling, you may need to make that difficult but life-giving choice, "I have to let go of my baby to save my baby."