When Our “Babies” Leave the Nest

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Trials…we are all destined for them, and that includes our kids.

“So when we could stand it no longer, we thought it best to be left by ourselves in Athens. We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.” 1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

I can relate to Paul in this passage, as he is physically separated from his “spiritual children” in Thessalonica. He brought them up in the faith, nourishing their life in Christ through teaching and example. He worked hard to establish them as mature Christians who could weather the inevitable storms of this life.  Now those trials had arrived, and he was worried that his loved ones were being lured away by the (false) promise of an easier life, full of much more fun.

Anyone who has raised a child and sent them off into the world understands Paul’s fears in this situation.  You spend 18 years pouring yourself into your child, and though you know you’ve made mistakes at times, you hope the spiritual foundation has been laid that will support your kid through the difficult moments of life.  It’s easy to question yourself.  Did I do enough?  Did my son really own his faith, or was he just going through the motions?  Is my daughter strong enough to stand up to the temptations she will face?

Paul was so worried about his babies, he sent someone to check up on them!  That was a pretty bold move, but I guess there was no Facebook or Instagram to stalk back in those days.  :)

Later in chapter 3, Paul says he is praying earnestly, night and day, that he will get to see them again soon, with the express purpose of filling in any gaps in their faith.  (Somehow I’m picturing the Thessalonians as rolling their eyes and responding with, “Relax, we got this, Paul!”)

Paul knew, just as we do, how hard it is to follow Jesus in this world.

So, today I’m praying for college freshmen, soldiers in boot camp, missionaries, apprentices, gap year students, and anyone who has flown the coop and is on their own for the first time.  If you are one of them, go easy on your parents when they worry about you.  Remember, they have a lot invested in you, and I’m not talking about money.  You are their hope, their joy, their crown.  I pray your heart is strengthened so you will be found blameless and holy.

And I’m praying for their parents, who are probably feeling a lot like Paul right now.  My prayer is that you will soon receive a good report about your children’s faith and love.  May they be found standing firm in the Lord, and may all your hard work in parenting be rewarded!

 

 

 

 

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