Sunday, January 27, 2008

Parents of Teens

The Gospel according to Luke, Chapter 8

40 On the other side of the lake the crowds welcomed Jesus, because they had been waiting for him. 41 Then a man named Jairus, a leader of the local synagogue, came and fell at Jesus’ feet, pleading with him to come home with him. 42 His only daughter, who was about twelve years old, was dying.

She's still "preteen", but this girl would be one of our middle schoolers. Notice how a parent intercedes for her, setting aside his own status to seek her best from Jesus. And dads should note that the Bible urges them to be self-sacrificing spiritual leaders for their families.

As Jesus went with him, he was surrounded by the crowds...

Yes, our lives seem too busy. But Jesus is not bound by any of the things that sap our energy and attention. Jesus goes with the dad, stopping along the way to meet other needs. He has power to spare.

... a messenger arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. He told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.”

We give up. "They're going to drink and have sex anyway." And our culture confirms our resignation.

But when Jesus heard what had happened, he said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.”

Just a tiny glimmer of faith is all Jesus needs to help our children. Yes, we are imperfect and the culture is not supportive. But Jesus speaks to us with encouragement.
51 When they arrived at the house, Jesus wouldn’t let anyone go in with him except Peter, John, James, and the little girl’s father and mother.

Yes, Jesus uses the church (represented by three of his apostles) to help our teens. But look who else he brings in for the miracle to come: dad and mom. Do not ignore how important you are to Jesus and how he wants to bless the love and care you have for your teens.

52 The house was filled with people weeping and wailing, but he said, “Stop the weeping! She isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.” 53 But the crowd laughed at him because they all knew she had died.

The fallen culture around you doesn't have hope. It is all about "Go along to get along." We might feel the pressure, but Jesus doesn't. We can find hope and act on it if we stay close to him.

54 Then Jesus took her by the hand and said in a loud voice, “My child, get up!” 55 And at that moment her life returned, and she immediately stood up! Then Jesus told them to give her something to eat. 56 Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.

Sometimes we are told to "Bring our teens to Jesus," but perhaps the better approach is to bring Jesus to our teens. Jesus doesn't send the parents out to talk up the miracle, but to stay with its reality and minister to their daughter in day to day things (hey, what else to do with a teen but give food?) The parents are "overwhelmed" but that's OK. Teens need role models in faith - people who might not have all the answers but who really strive to do what Jesus says.


Alice C. Linsley said...

This is really good, Father. That coming from a mother of 4 and a school teacher of many years.

We may also pray that Jesus would bring us adults to our children. The estrangement these days between children and their parents is often so great.

Anonymous said...

When our children see that we parents pray as couples as well as with them, that we thank the Lord for our food before meals, they remember. When our children hear us, in casual conversation with them, say "the Lord really blessed us (or perhaps, the Lord really blessed "you" - they are teenagers after all!) today when [" "] happened", when they see that we, with all of our imperfections, respect the sanctity of marriage, respect and try to do what God asks of us, when we speak of the Lord's forgiveness when there is true repentence, when we talk to our children about what is being said in church in a way that is meaningful to them, they see how important Christ is in our lives. We do our best and God does the rest.

Just Another Mom