“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Lamentations 3:25-26
The thought of sitting quietly and waiting patiently for God to bless our lives with His grace can seem daunting or impossible in today’s world of instant gratification. I run across numerous people, especially myself, that say they are stressed out on a daily basis. Whether it is our faith, family, work, friends, finances, or something else, stress seems to come from any and every angle. Patience seems to be the most useful quality that we could hope for in today’s fast paced world. If only the Bible could teach us patience in relation to the stressful situations that we find ourselves in today. The good news is that the Good News does just that. God has spelled out everything we need to find peace and patience in these situations and He hid it in plain sight in the Bible. Not only does He teach us to be patient, but He repeatedly shows us His grace and patience with us by His example. I hope to shed some light on God’s instructions for patience with our children in today’s world. Where better to start than the beginning in Genesis?
Patience by God’s Example
In early Genesis, we get a glimpse of how to be patient with our children by observing God’s patience with His children. God instructed Adam to “not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die” (Genesis 2:17). In what seems like the next breath, Adam and Eve eat from the tree after some influence from the serpent in Genesis 3. I hope that I am not the only one that can relate to having my children disobey my instructions immediately after giving them. Ha ha! God demonstrates patience with His children with a delicate combination of grace and discipline. God speaks to the serpent saying “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). God provides the initial revelation of His covenant of grace in this statement. The woman’s offspring refers to Jesus Christ who will defeat satan through his crucifixion. After blessing His children with grace, God provides discipline to Eve in Genesis 3:16 in the form of pain through childbirth. He disciplines Adam in Genesis 3:17-19 through working the ground to produce food to eat. God provides this first example of how to be patient with your children with a balance of grace and discipline. How do you balance grace and discipline as a parent?
It can be far easier as a parent to lean too far to the side of grace and neglect disciplining your children. We are reminded that “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them” (Proverbs 13:24). By being impatient and choosing the easy path as parents, we set our children up for failure in the future by not carefully disciplining them. There are numerous places in scripture where we are given instructions about how to exercise patience to raise our children. Ephesians 6:4 tells us “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Discipline and instruction take time and patience. Ask any school teacher and they will tell you that it takes lots and lots of patience. All of us are born into this fallen world, surrounded by sin; especially impatience which is enabled in today’s culture. God did not create us to be patient from birth, but He blessed us with numerous instructions in scripture to overcome and learn patience. What are some things that you do to exercise patience during times of discipline?
Careful discipline requires a parent to be patient. Hebrews 12:11 says “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” If we are patient and endure discipline as children and parents, then God will bless us and allow us to reap the harvest of righteousness from what we have learned. As a child, discipline seemed to last for an eternity for me. Like many children, I was impatient and wanted the discipline to be through so that I could go back to doing whatever it is that got me in trouble in the first place. Discipline was unpleasant and painful, and as you can imagine, it was also an often repeated experience that I landed myself in based on my actions. Praise to God for blessing my parents, coaches, and teachers with patience to use discipline and grace to shape me as God instructs us. Proverbs 22:6 instructs us to “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” I have great appreciation for this wisdom from the book of Proverbs as an adult that has lived through this as a child. As parents of four, including two teenagers, this message requires every bit of patience that my wife and I have, and even some patience that we have not yet developed. Being patient with our teenagers is one of the most challenging things I have ever experienced in my life. Like most parents I’m sure, I frequently find myself in prayer asking God for the faith and assurance that we have done enough to start our “children off on the way they should go.” The Lord reminds us to be patient and wait until our children have fully matured as adults to see that “even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Patience vs. Culture
This would not be Discerning Dad if there was no discussion about how patience is counter cultural as Romans 12:2 says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Proverbs 29:15-17 says “To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child. When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes, but the godly will live to see their downfall. Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.” How many times have social media, advertisements, or even your own family influenced you to take the easy way out and give your children everything they want? Proverbs 29:15-17 tells us to be patient when culture tells the world to act in this selfish, impatient way. With patience and discipline, we will have peace of mind and a happy heart. I pray that God provides revelation to all parents who want to be their child’s friend instead of their parent. Being a parent is difficult, especially one who is patient and balances grace and discipline. How have you faced cultural opposition when it comes to patiently parenting your children?
I am not an expert when it comes to patience, especially with teenage children, nor am I an expert in God’s instructions to us for patience. However, I hope that God has worked through me to reveal wisdom to you during this writing as God has provided revelation to me.
Dear Lord, we thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your everlasting patience with us. Thank You for teaching us patience by Your example. Thank You for blessing us with the opportunity to struggle with this most challenging yet most rewarding job of parenthood. Whenever we question if we are raising our children right or when we struggle with patience, I pray that You bless us with Your grace and lead us to Your Word. Amen.
Guest Discerning Dad
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