Friday, November 30, 2007

BJ and his Peru 2005 team.

Allowing our children to follow after the heart of God does not remove them from life experiences it expands them.

When he was 14 and wanting to leave the country for five weeks, we did not immediately say "yes." We stewed and we brewed.

It was true that we had let our daughters go overseas, but we had either been along, or they went for shorter term trips. They were in high school. He was still a child in our eyes. He was our youngest, we wanted to protect him and keep him close.

He did normal junior high things. He went to sleep overs, ski trips with his class, band trips, etc. He knew how to have fun. That never lacked. He talked on the phone, went over to friends houses, played video games and cultivated a zit farm. But his calling in life was not the same as other students. His fervency in sharing with others about his Savior was born of a deep abiding friendship with the King. He heard His voice and He hungered to follow after Him in obedience.

In our lives, the closer we are to the heart of God, the more our thoughts and prayers are centered around His will and desires. This is never a bad thing. When we see it in our children we must realize, they are not "normal." Their desires have been birthed by their Savior. We as their authority must be completely surrendered to Him to discern His will for them. It's too easy to make knee jerk decisions that we are more comfortable with, without taking into account the Lord's will.

When BJ returned the first year, from Peru telling us he wanted to go to Thailand...that he was "called" to Thailand, we took it to prayer. We received no peace. We could not give our blessing. He also returned wanting to go to Mexico for a Christmas trip. We struggled with that as well. We took it to prayer, but found ourselves frustrated that his desires seemed to run clear of the family. Ultimately, we did not let him go there, either.

In the Word, in the account of Samuel's youth (I Samuel 1-3), I see parallels that are pertinent to raising children who follow hard after God. I see myself in Hannah's prayers and concerns. I try to imagine releasing my child for His service at such a young age. It does not come easily. It does not come at all, for many.

I see the sons of Eli who were raised to follow the Lord, but found their own will more important. They went through the motions but took advantage of situations at every turn to benefit self. How many children being raised in churches or outside of them do we see follow this path?

Nurturing the child who cares mostly about Christ-centered opportunities is uncharted territory for most parents. This is not the way most of us were raised. Even if we were, we worry for their safety. We may think they are being too serious too much of the time.

The Word tells us to 'come out from the world and be separate.' When we see our children doing this we need to consistently encourage them, while seeking Him ourselves. We are still the authority He has placed over them for such a time as this. If they are following Him, they will yield to us whether they like it or not, and whether we are right or not.

Eli looked at Hannah and thought she was drunk. The world looks at us and thinks we are crazy for letting such young ones do what God has called them too. Story after story reveal parents who have fought against public opinion, knowing their child was not "normal." They let their child go, when family and friends said it was insane.

Samuel heard the word of the Lord. He did not understand it at first. He had to be trained. When our children begin to hear from God, the world says they are crazy. They are not. They are the ones He is raising up. They do not always understand the timing issues that come into play, so we must help discern this on their behalf. We must be seeking Him hard ourselves. This can be an intimidating process. He is not the author of intimidation. He will provide answers to His faithful ones. He will bring peace to these situations.

Jesus, at an early age (Luke 2:41-52), took on adult responsibilities. At 12, he began to do adult things. His parents were not thrilled about it at all. They did not even understand it at first. In their view, He was taking this whole growing up thing, too far. He was not. He was not "normal." The things He focused on were the things His Father in Heaven moved in His heart to do. He had earthly parents and was obedient to them. He was here for a purpose. Ultimately, His parents had to yield to that purpose and help foster growth, rather than hold Him back, so He could be all His Heavenly Father wanted Him to be.

Our responsibility is the same. We may not like it. We may not be sure of it. We may make mistakes in the journey. Our children will forgive us. So will our Father in Heaven.

That child that follows hard after Christ is not the norm in our world, or even in our Christian sub-culture. We have to make decisions that move them into the path and will of God. That does not always mean we say "yes." It does mean we seek Him hard and yield to His will above our own.


He will bring peace to each and every question and decision to those who seek after His heart.



At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of normal things for a "normal" teenage boy. Short lived, but still a teenager (wow! What, I'm one...)

Thank you for the post, Brent. Again I feel peace. Praise God I can come here (and to his word) for peace. Thank you.

Love, Leslie.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

It may not be "normal" to follow hard after Christ, but Christ did not come to make us "normal." He came to give us LIFE--and BJ's short years are one of the best examples of abundant LIFE that I know.

Parents who are willing to release their children to follow Him in obedience--no matter the cost--are not "normal" either. The Piepers are grateful to have such good company (and such good examples) in you and your lovely bride.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the father of Lauren, Whitney and BJ and dad of many!

with tender love
and prayers in pink,

and the rest of the Pieper7!

At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Brent for the words of wisdom that I longed for in order to seek Him for clarity. I have a child of the KING whom hears Him and is called to seek Him in missions. I am truly blessed! Glory be to God!!


At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, Marti, I just reflected on past comments and noticed your note to me. Affirmation from Him through Scripture is so beautiful! I thank you for directing me to His words! Thank you. I'm just "pink" all over! Vicky


Post a Comment

<< Home