Friday, January 17, 2014
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Our daughter was just eight years old when we left her at a summer camp for the first time. That's kind of a milestone for the child and the parent. But our daughter was really excited. I guess it's the parents that have a little harder time letting go. But a beautiful island, Camp Tapawingo, is on an island in the middle of an Adirondack lake only accessible by boat. So as this boat pulls away, it really underscores the reality that you are leaving this girl. But to be honest with you, it wasn't all that tough.
At that time, there was a woman who had run the place for years; a tremendous Christian educator with a lot of wisdom, a lot of love, a lot of experience. And they took us on a tour of the camp. We loved the facilities and they had this very well-conceived program that they planned for the week. So we knew we'd miss our little girl for the week, but we felt really good about where she was. She wasn't going to be with us, but we could relax. She was in good hands.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Morning Turnover."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Job chapter 1. When you think of Job, you probably think of suffering, right? But he's also a great example of parenting. "There lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil." Verse 3, "He was the greatest man among all the people of the East." Now the life of Job goes on to tell that he had 10 children - seven sons, three daughters - and it says of them after they were grown, his sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
The Bible says, "When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, 'Perhaps my children have sinned or cursed God in their hearts.' This was Job's regular custom." Later on, God and Satan are actually discussing Job's life and his righteousness in this incredible scene in heaven. And apparently the Devil is pretty frustrated, because he says to God, "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?"
Well, here's Job, like us in a lot of ways, worried about his children. They're obviously not in his hands anymore. But each morning (Did you get this?) he would meet with the Lord on their behalf. If you're a mom or dad, that's the most powerful life-shaping weapon you have in your parenting arsenal. We all know the feeling that my wife and I faced as we left our daughter; the concerns of a child who's going to be totally beyond your control, or your protection, your oversight, your influence.
We had her exclusively for only a very few short years, and then like all the others, she started school, began having friends we didn't pick. And they have ideas that are different from our own that are coming at them from every direction. And their time with us steadily decreases. And the influence of many other people and other forces steadily increases, and we start to worry.
And then sometimes there's a panic. We want to nag, or we've got to interrogate or pressure them, maybe even accuse or preach. And in the process of trying to protect them from mistakes, we sometimes end up driving them into mistakes unless we understand the power of the morning turnover when we surrender that child to the care and keeping of the living God. Who, by the way, goes all the places with your child you cannot go.
Now, one prayer is for that hedge; that God protection of your son or daughter from Satan, from sin, from themselves. Each of our children when they were infants, you know what? We'd dedicated them to the Lord at our church in some way. Now we couldn't carry them in our arms any more; they're a little big for that maybe. But all of us need to repeat that process daily; holding each child up to the Lord, committing them to the Lord, turning them over to Him again in serious intercession for them.
Remember, I said that my wife and I had peace when we left our daughter without us on that island that day and it was because we knew we were leaving her in such great hands? All of us parents can have that same peace if we'll leave our sons and daughters in God's strong hands each day. However far they may seem from you or from God, in the words of Isaiah 40:11, "He gathers the lambs in His arms and He carries them close to His heart."