Jesus is coming soon. That phrase has been said countless times, but in the last couple years it has become more of a reality in our day to day lives. The social climate of these ‘unprecedented times’ has changed not only how we grocery shop and eat at restaurants, but also the experiences our children may or may not be able to enjoy.
My junior high daughter was recently put on the spot when she had to make an impromptu choice not to attend a lunch event at school celebrating non-biblical sexuality. As a parent you can’t help but feel a mix of pride and distress when you see events like these unfold in the lives of your children. I often feel a sense of loss and find myself mourning the fact that my kids will never experience the more innocent childhood that I grew up knowing.
I was talking recently with a friend whose daughter plays competitive tennis. Although she is quite skilled and started playing at the age of eight, her coaches said that she started too late and will likely never attain her full potential. I was surprised at that statement because eight seems quite young to me. However, my friend responded that: “Ideally, she should have started at the age of four or five. Since she started a bit later she never learned intensity.”
I have come to appreciate that this is a general principle for anyone hoping to enter professional sports such as hockey, basketball and golf. And this discovery has caused me to rethink my perspective on my kids’ childhood.
As parents, it’s hard to see our kids facing difficult situations that we hardly understand ourselves. It is natural to want our children to have a happy childhood and so we try to insulate them and soften the blow of disappointment.
But what if our children are of that privileged generation, the one that all the past saints were hoping to be, the generation that witnesses the Lord’s return? I can’t help but think about a passage C.S. Lewis wrote in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader when Prince Caspian was selecting a crew to travel to the end of the world.
“I think you have not quite understood our purpose. You talk as if we had come to you with our hat in our hand, begging for shipmates. It isn’t like that at all … It is our pleasure to choose from among such of you as are willing those whom we deem worthy of so high an enterprise. We have not said that any can come for the asking. That is why we shall now command the Lord Drinian and Master Rhince to consider carefully what men among you are the hardest in battle, the most skilled seamen, the purest in blood, the most loyal to our person, and the cleanest of life and manners; and to give their names to us in a schedule.” He paused and went on in a quicker voice, “Aslan’s mane!” he exclaimed. “Do you think that the privilege of seeing the last things is to be bought for a song?”
I am reminded that we are on an amazing journey, beginning at creation and moving towards the end of this age and the return of our Lord Jesus. If we really are closing in on the end (the real end) it should impact our lives, it should bring a sharper focus and purity to the way we live our lives.
My concern for my children is no doubt the same as yours. I often wonder: “Aren’t they too young to be faced with these issues?” Yet again I am convicted by the sports analogy. If we are willing to make sacrifices, to discipline ourselves and our families and endure various kinds of hardship in order to train ourselves or our kids for sports activities, should we not also heed the words of Paul? “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” (1Timothy 4:8, NLT)
The Lord is preparing for Himself a generation that will be like no other in history; a bride prepared for her Bridegroom, and a people, as Prince Caspian describes it, “deemed worthy of so high an enterprise.”
I’m asking God to help me to know how to pray for my kids and how I can help them realize His purpose for their lives. In this, I am inspired by what Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12 speaking of the Day “when He comes … to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe … Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling … that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”