While God was testing him, Abraham still trusted in God and His promises, and so he offered up his son...
- Hebrews 11:17 TLB
A few years ago, I was at the lowest point in my life as a parent. My older son, Joseph, was at a very rebellious stage, and no matter how I prayed or sought the Lord, nothing seemed to help. As I tuned in to one of my favorite TV ministry programs, I heard the preacher speak Holy Spirit-inspired words about my situation that would change my life and my family forever. I'd like to share those words with you today: "Maybe God wants you to sacrifice your children by allowing them to be led by God instead of being led by you. Some of you are trying to control your kids, and those kids are old enough that they need to be hearing from God. And you're not obeying God by continuing to try to run their lives. We may have to trust that, even though they're off track now, God will do something--as we trust Him--to bring them back in line. We may have to realize that WE can't make them do what's right, but if we'll let go of them, then GOD will make them do what's right. Some of you need to back off and let your kids make their own mistakes. Don't keep bailing them out." I felt so sure that the Lord was speaking these words to me personally that I copied them down and asked Him to give me confirmation. That's when God showed me Hebrews 11:17: "While God was testing him, Abraham still trusted in God and His promises, and so he offered up his son . . ." For the past six years, I had been praying and standing on God's promises for Joseph. Now it was time for me to offer him up to the Lord as a sacrifice so that He could do in my son's life what He needed to. As fearful as I was, I put Joseph completely in God's hands. Exactly one month later, my husband asked our son to leave our home. Even though I felt like my heart was breaking, I knew that this was God's will for us as a family, and I supported my husband's decision. It was time to "let go and let God."
Job 36:15 NLT says that "By means of their suffering, [God] rescues those who suffer. For he gets their attention through adversity." When my son left home, I experienced a period of intense suffering, and during this time, God had my undivided attention. As painful as this time was for me, I trusted the Lord to bring good out of it for me and my family. As I sought Him daily through prayer and Bible reading, God showed me that my son had become a kind of idol to me. When He led me to Jesus' words in Matthew 10:37, I felt convicted. "Anyone who loves his son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." Until that moment, I hadn't realized that I had often demonstrated more love and devotion for my son than for God. And God was not about to play second fiddle in the life of one who had professed Christ as their Lord and Savior. I immediately confessed my sin and committed myself to put God first from that moment on, with His help. It was then that God gave me a promise to stand on for the restoration of my family. "The Lord spoke to me again, saying: In Ramah there is bitter weeping--Rachel weeping for her children and cannot be comforted, for they are gone. But the Lord says: Don't cry any longer, for I have heard your prayers and you will see them again; they will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, says the Lord, and your children will come again to their own land." (Jeremiah 31:15-17 TLB) This promise from God, along with many others, gave me the encouragement and hope I needed to stand in faith for the healing of my family. Though we've endured some periods of estrangement, tension and conflict, God has worked wonders in restoring our family. And we continue to seek and trust the Lord to help us please and glorify Him more and more. Last month, Joseph married Miriam, a godly young woman who brings out the best in my son and is truly an answer to prayer. I hope and pray this message will encourage you to let go of the loved ones in your life that the Lord is asking you to, so that He may perform the work and wonders that will ultimately bless you and glorify Him.
Prayer: Lord, reveal to me today how this message applies to my life. Give me the strength and courage I need to let go of the loved ones You want me to. Remind me that as long as I'm holding on to them too tightly, You can't do the good work in them or me that You long to do. Thank You that as I choose to "let go and let God," we will be blessed and You will be glorified!
- J. M. Farro