My daughter is not so small anymore, but I have learned a thing or two from her through the years at some crucial times in my life. I guess I didn’t realize it, but I was equating her young age with the fact that she couldn’t possibly say anything super wise that I could actually learn from. My OH my how our children are constant reminders that (one) God really does have a sense of humor, and (two) God can use anyone, including our very own children, to speak direct, piercing, and life changing words to us.
I’m thinking about the story of Samuel who was used mightily by God when he was a young child. Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was not able to readily conceive and she prayed and petitioned God asking to conceive with the promise that if she were to conceive, she would dedicate her child back to God once he was weaned (1Samuel 1:22). Well guess what—she conceived, and she fulfilled her promise to God and dedicated her only child to God by allowing him to live with Eli the high priest. Now Eli had problems with his own sons who were corrupt ministers, but he still allowed them to remain as ministers despite their evil actions (1 Samuel 2:12-26). Because of Eli’s laissez-faire parenting style, God was not pleased with him even though he was still a high priest.
After Samuel had been living with Eli, God began to use Samuel even though Samuel didn’t know at first that he was even being used by God (1 Samuel 3:1-9). If you know this bible story, you know that God began to disrupt young Samuel’s sleep. With each disruption, Samuel would run to Eli only to have Eli eventually realize by the second time that it was actually God who was calling young Samuel. After Eli recognized what was happening, he told young Samuel the next time this happens, he should say to God, “Speak: for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). Well you guessed, yes it happened a third time, and yes Samuel said what Eli had told him to say. God then spoke directly to Samuel which turned out to be a message of judgment from God against Eli and his corrupt sons. Think about that for a minute: A woman unable to conceive prays and asks God to help her to conceive with the promise of dedicating her child back to God. She conceives, fulfills her promise and turns her only child over to the high priest Eli, and then God turns around and uses this same child to deliver a judgment message to the very priest who had been taking care of him. I don’t know about you, but that still blows my mind even today.
Samuel’s first recorded assignment in the bible was not when he as 60 years old, but when he was a young boy. So what can we take from this as parents? DON’T UNDERESTIMATE GOD! Remember when I mentioned earlier that God had used my daughter to speak wisdom to me? Well if I can be completely honest, it really did take me by surprise. I heard her, and then I was like—WOW—that’s some good stuff, BUT I couldn’t see past her age at first. Well it didn’t take long before I realized what I was doing and repented.
Even today, I have resolved the fact that God uses my kid, and yes like the priest with Samuel, God uses my kid to speak direct, piercing, and life changing words to me. There have been times where my daughter has said some things to me that I knew she was spot on the moment she said them even though I didn’t want to hear that from her. After all I’m the mom, and I’m supposed to be the person who is saying all the spot on stuff and not her. She has pointed out to me very accurately the motives of certain people who I thought I knew, she has pointed out to me the unfairness of my judging a particular situation prematurely, she has pointed out to me times when I needed to hold onto something I wanted to let go of and when I needed to let go of something I wanted to hold onto, and the list goes on and on. This may seem small, but these were times where I was spending time with God, reading my bible, asking for guidance, and not expecting it to come from my very own daughter who didn’t even know what I was seeking from God. Our God is not only amazing, but He’s truly a good God.
As parents, you need to know that although our kids do say the darndest things, they also can say some wise things too. God can and does use them to help guide us as parents sometimes. Our children know us better than we know ourselves sometimes. They live with us, they eat with us, they cry with us, they believe in us, and they see us not only during good times, but also during bad times too. It is true that our children can be absorbed in their own self-driven worlds, and they want everything to be all about them. However, occasionally they do step outside of their self-absorbed worlds to say the right thing to us at the right time. I know sometimes it may not appear as though they are listening, but they are. I know sometimes it may not look as though they care, but they do.
My challenge to you is to add your very own children to the list of “people that God uses” and watch what can happen. Like Samuel, this should be a lesson to us all that age truly is just a number. That God always, always knows what He is doing, and He knows what we need. After all, we must remember that although we are parents to our very own children, we too are also children of the Most High God!