I look at my daughters and I see beauty. I see joy. I see possibilities.
But I also see traits in their personalities that will bring them difficulties. I see mistakes and frustrations ahead. And I want to save them from those things.
It’s the natural inclination of every parent to want to spare their children the pain of mistakes we have already made. I look at my girls and see the roots of stubbornness and pride. I see the stumbles and the falls they could take – because I have been there. I know what happens when you get in over your head and refuse to ask for help. I know the disaster that comes when you think you have to do everything, and you have to do it by yourself.
I see, and I want to spare them the agony. I want to spare them the moments of failure. I want to spare them the pain.
So, I teach and I teach and I teach. I give them object lessons. We break down poor decisions and learn how to make better ones. We talk about pride and stubbornness. I try so hard to help them learn to rely on God and to avoid the pain and sorrow of trying to do it on your own.
But then I am quietly reminded that all those things are good, but sometimes life is God’s great teacher. I am reminded that sometimes it takes pain to create change. I am reminded that some lessons must be learned on our own. Because without the pain or the failure, my children’s hearts won’t change.
God has never been interested in keeping us safe or comfortable. God is interested in making us more like Him. And sometimes that process requires that we be refined in the fire. It requires that our faith is tested so it can become strong. And fire hurts. It burns. It leaves us gasping for breath.
But what comes out of that fire is beautiful. It’s strong. It has stood the test and become something new.
As much as we want to protect our kids from the pain of mistakes, from the brutal humiliation of failure, from the sorrow of a world lost to sin, sometimes we have to let them feel the pain, the humiliation, the sorrow so God can do His work in their hearts. Sometimes it is the refining process that brings about the heart change for which we’ve been praying.
So, the next time your kids walk through the fire, be there with them. Comfort them. Listen to them. But remember that God has purpose in the pain. He has a reason for the fire. For without the fire, there is no gold.