It’s What Parents Do and How They Do It

The beautiful paragraph below is from Old Testament scholar John Goldingay (Old Testament Theology, vol. 3, p. 706). I hope it speaks to you as it spoke to me. (Note: It was all one paragraph in his book. I broke it up for easier reading.)


Parents passionately want their children to grow into people who identify with their own values, but they cannot manipulate this into happening or force it, because manipulation or force cannot produce that end.

So they try various other ways of making it happen.

They model these values for themselves.

They tell their children what these values are.

They encourage their children with the blessings that will follow from adhering to them and warn them about the consequences that will follow from ignoring them.

They make their children the objects of their love because love shapes character.

They put their children through tough experiences because tough experiences shape character.

They give them scope to make their own decisions so that they have opportunity to work with those values.

And then they sit back and hope nervously that all this will work, high on expectancy but sometimes experiencing disappointment.


I have one grown son, Matt. I have appropriate joy and gratitude for who he is, who he is becoming, and how God is working in his life. I think Becky and I followed most of the wisdom discussed by Goldingay. But the last line is where all parents end up. We do our best, sit back, pray, hope, pray, trust, pray … and wait.


But Goldingay went on and added one more zinger to this discussion on parenting:

God does all these things in relation to his people … and then God sits back … high on expectancy but sometimes experiencing disappointment…

God is generous with his gifts, steadfast in his love, persistent in his teaching, careful in his discipline, lavish with grace … but God waits to be wanted by you and me. God woos and then God waits. Like the father and the wayward son of the Gospels, God woos and God waits.

Let’s not keep God waiting.

Pastor Brian

Brian Rice
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