“… Saul said to the servant who was with him, ‘Come, let’s go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.’” 1 Samuel 9:5 (NIV)
Ever worry about your children? Yes, me too.
When my eldest child, Ethan, was in first grade, he went to a public school with more than 1,000 kids. There were many unknowns to fear. What if he is taught something by his teacher I don’t agree with? What if he has a friend who shows him something inappropriate? What if his little 6-year-old worldview is shaped by pop culture instead of the Bible?
So I joined a weekly prayer group for kids and schools and asked my new friends to pray my son would find a Christian friend at school. The very next day Ethan said, “Guess what, Mom? I met a boy at recess and I asked if he was a Christian. He said, ‘Yes,’ and Mom, he’s in my class!”
While I was worrying at home, God was working at school.
Apparently, I’m in good company. The father of Israel’s first king was also prone to worrying about his son.
The family’s donkeys were lost, so Saul’s dad, Kish, sent him on a mission to find them. Accompanied by a servant, young Saul passed through the mountains of Ephraim and through the lands of Shalisha, Shalim, the Benjamites and finally the land of Zuph.
Far, far away from home, Saul turns to his servant and says, “ … Come, let’s go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.”
I doubt Saul’s father was a weak-willed, easily-frightened man. The Bible describes him as a “mighty man of power” (1 Samuel 9:1b, KJV). Yet even the strongest can crumble under worry when it comes to their children.
Maybe Saul’s father wrestled with nagging questions, too. God’s prophet, Samuel, confirmed that Kish was indeed worried and had been asking others if they’d seen Saul (1 Samuel 10:2b, NLT). I imagine any number of questions were floating through his mind: What if my son is lost? What if my son is stuck in a ditch? What if my son has been injured and can’t get back home?
While he was wondering about Saul’s safe return home, God was preparing Saul to become the first king of Israel.
Saul wasn’t lost. He was exactly where God wanted him. The arduous journey to retrieve those pesky donkeys was designed by God to bring Saul to Samuel.
It’s a reminder that instead of worrying about my children and their problems, I should pray for them. And recognize the challenging journeys they face at school — or in life — may be exactly what they need in order to hear God’s voice and receive His direction for their lives.
My son Ethan is now in junior high. Thankfully, he is still friends with that Christian boy God illuminated in first grade.
Just like young Saul left on a mission to retrieve donkeys and then returned as the chosen king of Israel, your child (or a child you care about) is on a personal journey of faith. One filled with unexpected challenges and blessings. Don’t worry along the way; instead pray. Take heart. In the midst of our worries and concerns, we can rest assured God is at work.
Dear Lord, I commit the children in my life to You. Help me not to worry about them, but pray in faith, believing You are at work. I will not be anxious today. I will be patient, waiting on Your answers for their lives. Thank You for working on my behalf. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 138:8, “The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” (NKJV)
Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
For more encouragement to turn your mom-worries into prayers, check out Arlene Pellicane’s book, 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom.
You can also stop by Arlene’s parenting blog today where you’ll find additional prayers to trade your anxiety for God’s peace.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are you worried about one or more of your children this school year? Tell God all about your cares and then praise Him that He’s working behind the scenes for your child’s good.