“Many sorrows shall be to the wicked. But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him,” (Psalm 32:10).
We’ve all heard this when we have one of those insurmountable needs that life brings our way. Our Christian brothers and sisters will tell us to turn it over to the Lord. “Put it in his hands,” they often will say.
That’s great advice, and I certainly don’t disagree with it. But the spiritual question is how? Turning a problem over to the Lord is an easy thing to say, but applying that spiritual principle is one of the most difficult things that I’ve ever had to do as a Christian. Let me give you a personal testimony that illustrates my point.
As parents and grandparents, we all want to see our children and grandchildren reach a decision to accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. How many times in your church have you heard a fellow believer ask for prayer for an unsaved loved one? It is an all-too-frequent request.
That need in my life has taught me there are two prerequisites. The first is to set an example in front those who are unsaved that will create a yearning for the blessings that salvation brings. Too many times, our children and grandchildren are turned off to the Lord not so much because of the world outside but because of what they see going on in the lives of their family members. Jesus said that we are the light of the world: “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven,” (Mathew 5:16). Our children and grandchildren need to see that light around the hearth as well.
We also have to realize that we can’t save our children. Real salvation only can come by and through the work of the Holy Spirit. Sure, we can and should assist God in salvation, but ultimately we must recognize that he will choose the time and place.
That’s a frustrating reality when you have a child or grandchild who doesn’t know the Lord. In my case, one of my children shows no concern about or love for the things of the Lord. As a parent, I have tried to live a life in front of all my children that not only shows my deep love for Jesus, but also one that illustrates what the peace of God really means in the life of a Christian. All of my children remember me as an unsaved man and have personally the wholesale change that the Lord has brought to my life. Yet, I still have one child who sees no need to rush to judgment when it comes to a decision to follow Christ.
Finally, my wife pointed out to me that this was one of those situations with a child where I could not will the outcome.
“Turn it over to the Lord,” she advised.
When I first started praying to God about it, I would pray for salvation, but I always would condition my request. “But please don’t make my child suffer in some unbearable way in order to find you, Lord,” I would invariably add.
I no longer condition my prayer. I just want to see my child saved. If you really want to turn it over to the Lord, then you have to let him do it in his way and in his time. Today, my prayer is very different: “Lord, please, just save my child.”
Write to Mike Ruffin at firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is devotions.com.