“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
God Trains His Children
When God gave us these instructions for child-rearing, He knew what He was doing. He imparted pure wisdom for this crucial task.
It follows, then, that He would “take His own advice.” If a basic truth is good instruction for us, He surely does that same, wise thing, because it is the best course of action when undertaking that task.
He tells us to train our children in the way they should go; He then models this for us, so we can do the same.
We surely are His children. He is, in all that He does towards us, training us in the way we should go. His words, His allowances, His actions, His disciplines—all train us in the way we should go.
When we are young in the faith, He is a gentle Father who tenderly guides in spiritual life skills and corrects self-centered tendencies. He helps us develop spiritually healthy habits so they shape us for the future. He allows us to learn some hard lessons by discipline or, more often, by experiencing consequences of our decisions. Sometimes He takes over and makes decisions for us when we are inclined to follow the wrong path. Sometimes He fences us in, to keep us away from danger. Sometimes He tells us “no”, and though we may kick and scream, He stands firm.
I have often questioned my parenting techniques and decisions. I often look back with regrets and wish I could have a do-over in some areas. There were so many things I didn’t understand at the time, so many things I overlooked that ended up being crucial to healthy spiritual and emotional development, so many things I let slide so I didn’t seem harsh and “unloving.” The truth is, I was often overwhelmed by responsibilities, fears, and anxieties in parenting my children.
God is never overwhelmed in parenting us, His children. He always knows the right move to make, knows the exact pressures and stresses we need to build strong roots, knows when we are ready for another step. He knows all our developmental needs, and sends the provision to us at the exact right time. He knows what to protect us from, and what to allow us to experience. And it is always the right thing to do.
He knows when to help us walk, and when to let us fall. He knows when and how to correct our hearts, minds, and words. He knows when to show Himself, and when to stand back and watch. He knows what trials and temptations we can bear. He knows when we need to rest, and if we don’t rest when we need it, He may force it—for our own good.
Lord God, You are a good and perfect Father who acts in all wisdom and power. Train us up in the way we should go, so that when we are old, we won’t depart from it. Amen.