Every parent will eventually face a day they have dreaded. Whether it comes with the end of a relationship when spouses cannot mend their differences or a tragic death. Whether it comes with the bully on the playground or the joint you find in your son’s backpack. It might be a broken bone or a broken heart or a broken dream; whatever it is, we are all aware of our deepest fears and we will eventually know a dark night of the soul.
What do you do when you are facing darkness? Cry? That’s probably a good place to start, but where will it end? Parent, who is your Rock when the ground collapses? Who can it be other than Jesus? You see it’s likely that you didn’t know this when you signed up to be a parent (I know, it’s not actually “signing up” there are other processes involved, nonetheless…), but what you actually signed up for was life at its finest and life at its most difficult.
Today, thousands of miles away from our home in the centre of Canada, nature has wielded a blow against the children of Nepal. Dreams have been crushed in toppled buildings, life is irrevocably different than one happy week ago. I have a friend there, a pastor from Winnipeg on a missions trip; you see things so very different when it is your friend’s face in front of the carnage on the Facebook post. Today, slightly closer, but still thousands of miles from home, the children of Syria have no home. Those parents did not wish this for their children, to live in war, but war came to them. And much, much closer to home are the children of Winnipeg who live in poverty, or who are sold for a perverse profit, and you have to know that no parent chose that life for their children.
This doesn’t even address the brokenness that cancer brings and the myriad of other ailments that cause our children to suffer either because they are the subject of an indifferent disease in their little bodies or because it robs them of someone they love.
I often think about how inconvenient it is when confronted with tragedy. But like it or not, when darkness falls, it gets dark. And it doesn’t matter whether we are in the dark or the light, we are still parents and so we have to learn to parent in the dark as well as the light! We cannot be overtaken by the enemies of our world. We have to hope.
You might try hardening your heart to the prospect of pain. But what would that accomplish? Nothing really, and the world has enough hard hearts. I want you to know, that aside from my friend, Jesus Christ, I don’t know how I would face even the fear of some unknown future darkness. My mind is far too creative and my will far too weak to withstand the cascading “What if’s” that can plague a soul.
The Bible is clear, we are not to live in fear of the darkness, we are meant to enjoy life and fun and pleasure, and that includes our children! But to live without an eye to the horizon, without a sober awareness that what we have here on earth is not the end goal and that trouble will arrive sooner or later, is not cause for despair, but rather cause for us to lean closer to the Brightest Light. He may be the only Person you can tell all the details to.
Parents, if you don’t feel like you need Jesus today, you just might tomorrow. Do not neglect your faith. Do not neglect the only relationship that will be able to sustain you. Show your children how to have a real friendship with Jesus in the light so that you can be all the more the model of a Christian in the dark.
Thank God for music, the language our soul speaks, so that when words run dry our hearts can still find hope.
This song by my friend Amanda Cook is a good one to put on repeat.
PS if you are facing a dark time as a parent or family, message me and I will pray for you!