By Alex Florez
My three children attend the school where my wife and I teach. Our whole family has had the unique opportunity to spend our waking hours on the same campus. If any of them need me, I can be by their side in a matter of minutes. Admittedly, we’re spoiled by our proximity to each other. But we’re about to experience a seismic shift in our circumstances. Our oldest is in 6th grade, which means this is her last year at our school. Soon, we’ll have to bring her to a different campus and leave her in the care of others.
I often contemplate whether we’ve done enough as her parents. Have we taught her everything she needs to know about our crazy world? Have we told her often enough that she’s smart, beautiful, and kind? At the heart of all my questioning is this: Can my little girl make it without me? Even if our specific circumstances are fairly unique, all parents understand the central challenge of letting go.
Paul seems to really love his friends in Colossae. Certainly, he wanted what was best for them, as evidenced by the letters he wrote to them; the very existence of those letters is evidence that Paul could not remain with them forever. At some point, Paul had to let go and let them live out their faith apart from his direct influence and in spite of his absence. Perhaps he lost sleep, wondering if they would make it on their own. Maybe he shed tears for the believers when he learned of their being persuaded to follow bad teaching about Jesus.
But we see in his letter to the Colossians that his fears were stilled by his confidence in the Lord. Paul was able to trust that the Holy Spirit would faithfully attend to the work that had begun in the hearts and minds of Paul’s friends. He was able to let them work out their own faith with the assurance that “in [Jesus] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
I read these passages and find solace. Truly, my daughter has everything she needs to tend the garden of faith the Lord has planted within her heart. Her well-being does not ultimately depend on whatever I did or didn’t do well. The strength of her commitment to Jesus will not be a function of whatever I failed to do. Her ability to navigate the world will be determined by the fact that she is firmly rooted in the one who is perfectly faithful, mighty to save, and unflinchingly committed to those He has called. When it’s time to let my little girl go, I must remember that all the wisdom and understanding she needs rests powerfully in the name of Jesus, the lover of her soul.