Written by Somer Colbert
It does not matter what we are doing, my five-year-old daughter wants to know the plan.
Where are we going? What are we going to do? Why? Who’s going to be there?
Even in our recent transition to homeschooling, she has been relentless. How many more assignments? What are we having for lunch? When can we have a break? How much longer until tech time?
One morning, she was especially distracted by her curiosity and could not focus on the simple assignment at hand. Her frantic mind shuffled through a million questions, all while placing cereal on a squiggle line. She wanted to know what came next.
Frankly, her questions raised my anxiety level as I tried to encourage her to keep focus.
I kindly suggested: “Let’s stop thinking ahead and focus on what we’re doing right now.”
Softly (yet unmistakingly) the Holy Spirit—who speaks to me so frequently through my words to my children—reminded me that this message to my daughter was the same one he wanted my heart to hear. Despite the fact that I get frustrated with my daughter’s constant demand to know the plan and all of the answers, God used her to remind me that my cries to him so often reflect these same demands.
How, why, and when?
I want to know the plan.
I want to know how God is going to do it all. I want to know what step is next so I can get a move on. I don’t like sitting in a space of unknowing and inaction.
I too become relentless in my demand to know. I get distracted as I desperately try to figure out the solution to the problems I am facing. As a result, like my daughter, I cannot focus on the assignment in front of me.
And then, the Lord reveals to me that I am wasting invaluable time and energy trying to find the solution rather than God himself. I value answers above his presence. I desire a plan rather than his purpose.
We are all struggling to balance our faith with the desire for answers. Media from every direction floods our minds with questions and uncertainties. As believers, we want to know what God is going to do. We want to know how. We want to know when.
In this, we are not so different from our children.
Purpose in uncertainty
As we wait for answers, we (the parents) have an unprecedented opportunity to allow our children to see us look completely to God, openly admitting our lack of control and knowledge of what’s to come.
We don’t know what next week, next month, or next year is going to look like. And in the meantime, we still have a purpose and a calling.
As Pastor Steven Furtick puts it, “Just because I am in an uncertain place doesn’t mean I don’t have a certain purpose.”
When God made us parents, he gave us a purpose and tremendous responsibility. No matter what is going on around us, our first priority is still to point our children to him.
The best way we can teach them right now is not through AMI distance learning. Rather, it is through an abiding faith that acknowledges his sovereignty and our full dependence on him.
Teach them the things we already know
Instead of allowing ourselves to get distracted with our need to know, let us focus on teaching our children what we already know.
- God’s truth: “The entirety of your word is truth” (Psalm 119:160).
When we have fears and questions, our time and energy is best spent filling our minds and hearts with God’s truth through Scripture. The truth of his word is foundational to our faith and teaching it to our children is foundational to our role as parents.
By intentionally creating an atmosphere for his truth to resonate in our homes, we are actively fighting against the enemy’s attempts to ensnare us in his traps of fear, doubt, and distraction.
Each time you hear a thought that conflicts with his word, let your children hear you repeat the scriptures of his promises and provision outloud. As a result, they will learn the invaluable practice of doing this for themselves.
Your children will recognize the benefit of a home covered in the protection of prayer against the spiritual battles that wage war against families.
2. God’s provision: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19)
Scripture is full of examples of God providing for his people.
Time and time again, despite their rebellion and apathy, God has made sure that his people had what they needed. Notice I said need and not want.
What an incredible time for us to start teaching our children to see past the material distractions of this world. These days present an opportunity to begin to show them God’s provision through examples in Scripture and the experiences surrounding this novel coronavirus pandemic.
Let’s use this time to dive into Scripture. Take time to recognize even the smallest of provisions, things like: running water, heat, and a house to shield us from the rain.
Create a “thankful list” that is easily visible and add something to it each day. If your focus is on gratitude, you will have less time to dwell on the need to know.
3. God’s promises: “‘For I know the plans I have for you’—this is the Lord’s declaration—’plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope’” (Jeremiah 29:11 CSB)
There you have it.
He knows, so we don’t have to.
He has a plan set in place that is beyond our control, but thankfully he promises his plan is for our well being. When we place our faith in him, we cannot leave trust out of the deal. Choosing him means choosing to believe everything he says, including his promises, even when we cannot see how.
Make his glory known
As we know—God does give answers. And as we grow and become more spiritually mature, we realize that his answers rarely match our ideas and expectations.
Oftentimes, our focus is entirely on the wrong thing. We look for temporary resolve because we do not like to be uncomfortable by feeling out of control. We do not have his ability to see the big picture, in alignment with his plan.
This is why our plan has to shift. Our focus must be aligned with God and his ultimate desire—to love others, see the lost come to him, and make his glory known.
By filling our homes with the reading of his word, prayer, and a focused attention to his priorities, we have the opportunity to instill faith within our children. A faith that they will own for themselves and take with them as they grow and mature.
There will be more challenges to come and more difficulties to face, but when we die to our need to know, we establish peace within our homes. When we completely surrender our control, we offer our testimony to those around us without having to utter a word.
And so, as we continue to walk through these unknown days, let’s stop thinking ahead and focus on what we are doing right now, one day at a time.