Day 29: Surrender
The heart of man plans his way,
but the LORD establishes his steps.
“Magic sand,” he said with mystery as he climbed into the minivan. His brother looked at him curiously, so he explained: “I have magic sand and if I put it in my pocket, it will turn into money. He then proceeded to theatrically pull out a brand new five-dollar bill.
“Where’d you get that?” his brother asked.
“Magic sand,” was the reply.
At home, we finally coaxed it from our son that . . .
At home, we finally coaxed it from our son that a friend at school had given him five dollars for helping him do his homework. He knew in his budding conscience that it was wrong to take the money, so he conjured up a creative explanation to justify its existence: magic sand. Initially, we tried to make him return the money, but then we prayerfully left the decision up to him. Despite our steadfast denial, our children grow up quickly and cannot always be told the right thing to do in every situation. Five dollars seemed a relatively tiny step toward personal responsibility. Thankfully, our son decided to return the money (or donate to charity if his friend refused to take it), yet this lesson taught us to surrender our children to God.
Dads, as you steward your children, you must constantly surrender your parenting to the Lord. If you have chosen to follow Jesus, then you must give him your family: the way you raise your kids, love your spouse, and depend on God’s plan for your future. Surrender, however, will grate against your idol of control. When our family would play MarioKart together, one of our sons would press the gas while my wife steered the kart. But as will happen in a video game, they would sometimes careen off a cliff or crash into a wall. At those times, my then 5-year old son would shout in frustration: “Mommy! Drive straight!” We had to calm him down with time-outs until he remembered they were both on the same team. Sadly, however, we do that to Jesus all the time. We hand him the steering wheel to let him drive, but insist on navigating. We tell Jesus which way we think he should go and instruct him to speed up or slow down: “Watch out for that curve! Pass up that slowpoke!” We get mad when Jesus does not do exactly what we want. He must then give us a spiritual time-out to address our idolatrous demand for control.
Dads, learn to surrender your family to Jesus. Instead of clinging to power and control, let him fully take the wheel. The Lord’s providence will change your course and draw you back. According to Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps” (19:21; 20:24). One vacation, our family planned a road trip, booked hotels, and saved up money. But on the day before we left, God allowed a tiny little rock to fly through a tiny little opening in the grill of our van to put it completely out of commission. So we ended up shortening our road trip, but that’s not all. While on vacation, our son needed emergency surgery (Yes, another ambulance ride!). Yet because God had providentially changed our itinerary, we were in the right city with the best specialist who could provide optimal treatment for our son. Dads, it is never wrong to make plans. In fact, it’s wise. But do not worry when plans go awry, for the sovereign God will determine your way and wisely establish your steps.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You are the Ruler and Lord of my life, so let me trust your sovereign authority to correct my course when I stray. Help me submit to your leading as I steward my family for your good purposes. Let my surrender be an example of faith to them, so that they will follow you in faith themselves. In your Son’s name, Amen.
LifeWork: Write down one way you will apply today’s Proverb.
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