By Alex Florez
As I was contemplating today’s readings, a friend texted me a photo of my son. He was at an outdoor high ropes course with a group of friends. In the picture, he’s wearing a harness and clutching a carabiner in each hand. There’s a look of unflappable focus in his eyes, and a smile seems about to crest across his face. One foot is out in front of the other, suggesting momentum and accumulating energy about to burst forth. Nothing in the world matters more to my boy than surmounting the obstacle before him and soaring through the air. All apprehension has evaporated in the heat of this summer afternoon. He and his friends are the happiest boys in the world.
I can’t freeze time, but I’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that he will be equally joyful and fulfilled in his adulthood as he appears in this photograph. I am determined to sow every spiritual seed in his heart that I can in the hopes of cultivating a mature and passionate relationship between my son and the Lord Jesus by the time he becomes a man.
However, today’s readings brought up a tension in me. In Deuteronomy 4, Moses admonished the people to instruct their children about all God had done for them; it is imperative to pass the legacy of faithfulness to God to future generations. The weight of being an adequate father is a heavy one.
On the other hand, there’s a sense that even if I turn out to be the greatest, most Jesus-focused daddy in the history of mankind, there’s still a chance my son won’t choose to follow Christ as an adult. Just look at Judges 2. Every time an effective leader passed away, the people fell back into rebellion against God’s authority, and they gave their hearts to unworthy, impotent idols. This pattern of sin and judgment continued, generation after generation. But God in His mercy faithfully pursued and kept His people, even in their unfaithfulness.
Thankfully, it is not by my merit that God will measure to determine my son’s future. Rather, it rests in the arms of the only one who can actually save. My son’s hope—and all of our hope—rests in Christ alone. I will never stop praying for the future of the intrepid, sweaty, joyful little boy in this picture, but I can rest assured that Jesus is the one who holds our hope and future in His hands. As a follower of Jesus, I believe that true joy and actual fulfillment can only come from our Father in heaven. Join me as I “hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23).