Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman’s father said jokingly to his daughter, “I’m more famous than you are.” His comment was based on the media’s coverage of him and his wife Lynn’s nervous reactions as they observed Aly’s Olympic routines. Their emotions on display became an engaging sideshow. The couple swayed and rocked as they anticipated Aly’s complex flips and twists. Lynn reached over and clenched Rick’s arm and fearfully peered out from between her fingers. There’s nothing quite like the anxiety of a loving parent!
Mary and Joseph also experienced fear and concern when Jesus disappeared as they were heading home from a festival in Jerusalem. After checking with friends and relatives, three days later they found Him in the temple dialoguing with religious teachers (Luke 2:46-47). Mary questioned Him: “Why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere” (Luke 2:48). Jesus responded, “But why did you need to search? . . . Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). Given Jesus’ divine nature, it wasn’t wrong for Him to pursue His purpose—even at a young age. But in doing so, He asserted His independence from His parents.
Like Mary and Joseph, we may feel anxiety when our children or other kids we know and love begin to mature and exhibit independence. Our control lessens, and their control over their own lives increases. While some concern is normal, unless we believe that God is aware of the challenges our children will encounter, we may have difficulty letting them go. But if we release them into God’s care when the time is right, they’ll have the chance (like Jesus did) to grow “in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all people” (Luke 2:52).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 2:41-52
Philippians 4:6 shows us how to experience freedom from anxiety. Read Matthew 10:37 and consider how it’s possible for family members to become idols.
Does God try to control every decision we make, or does He allow us to have choices and make mistakes? How is God’s “parenting” an example for us?