We recently had a message at church where they played a clip from the movie "Titanic." I hadn't seen the movie in years, and while the film is based on a tragedy, it never really affected me.
But things are different now. I have kids.
Watching the images of the passengers' panic to find room in the lifeboats, I found myself gripped with terror. In that moment, I felt their helplessness and fear as I thought, "What would I do? How would I protect my kids?"
While I'm not planning any trips across the Arctic sea, the fear is one that every parent faces daily. We bear the responsibility of protecting our kids from harm at any cost, and the thought of being helpless is unimaginable. Even worse are the stories of parents who have lost their children, like Steven Curtis Chapman whose daughter Maria was killed by a freak accident in the family's driveway. Or the couple from our church that have buried two sons in the last 2 years. While Amy & I have experienced the pain of miscarriage, my heart cannot begin to comprehend the agony that those couples have faced.
And yet we're called to hold our children with open hands.
It's hard to trust God with our kids. It's hard to let them go out and play and trust that God will protect them. But as followers of Christ, we have to believe that He is in control. Our children are His, given to us in trust; we are to protect and care for them until He asks for their return.
All three of our kids were miracles. All three were completely unexpected. We were not in control of their arrival, and it was clear that they were sent to us directly from God. They came suddenly and unexpectedly and we had to acknowledge that they could be taken away just as unexpectedly.
Parents are called to great faith. We must believe that God is both sovereign and good. He is ultimately in control of everything, and we have to trust that He sees the fuller picture. At the same time, we have to believe that He is working for our best interest; to give us not that which we desire but that which we require. We must trust Him with everything, and hold back nothing. We have to be willing to have the faith of Abraham, dagger raised above his son Isaac, and hold our children with open hands.