As Hannah looked back toward her home, what did her mother’s heart feel? How could she walk away from the answer to all her prayers? How could she release this dream she had so desperately longed for—this dream that was now a real little boy looking up at her with questioning eyes and a quivering lip, trying to obey her loving instructions, and trying to hold back his tears?
If only Hannah could have known at that moment how the story looks from our perspective. We know her Samuel would soon hear the audible voice of God, he would impact the entire nation of Israel, and this very act of her obedient surrender would be recorded and recalled for generations.
But Hannah didn’t know the future. She only knew it was time to say goodbye and go home—childless once again. She must have turned her face quickly so Samuel wouldn’t see her mixed emotions.
As Hannah walked away, she released her little one into the mighty hand of God and chose to worship. As she did, God’s plan began to unfold. For this child was not just Hannah’s dream; he was God’s dream. At the time, the nation of Israel desperately needed a new spiritual leader, and God had found a mother desperate enough for Him to willingly yield to His plans.
As parents...we don’t always realize the importance of our vital role in the kingdom of God. Will we equip our children to fulfill God’s purposes and to reach for God’s potential? Will we train our children to reach their world for Jesus?
Through this (website) I desire to light a spark for world missions (like God has lit in me) that will grow into a fire for the unsaved like you’ve never had before. I want God’s love for unreached people to burn so strongly inside you that it will start spreading to others, specifically to your own children and to the young people you come in contact with.
Over the years I’ve seen many of our world’s appalling needs. I’ve had opportunities to travel to dozens of countries. However, in this particular season of my life I’m primarily called to be at home. I love being a mother, raising a family, and teaching children. But sometimes, I admit, I get frustrated.
Many days I wonder if I am “doing” anything of significance and I often struggle with a horrible “striving” mentality in my flesh. When I hear of “big needs”—like the “big need” for world missions—I feel a striving to want to do something “important” (for God, of course!).
I want to be busy!
I want to go!
But sometimes it feels like I’m meeting only “little needs”—like helping a child with homework, cooking a meal or reading that bedtime story (again!), and simply watching my children grow.
Yet, deep inside, I do know the truth. Raising and training children (and serving my husband) is important! “Striving,” or mere “busyness,” is not the same as “fruitfulness,” and all God really requires is for me to stay close to Him and obey Him, day by day.
Today the Lord is simply showing me to be faithful—that is, to love God and to support my husband here at home; to be fruitful—to be a mother and to teach and train our children in the ways of the Lord; and to keep my eyes on the future—to eagerly anticipate the Lord’s return and keep living in His joy.
As parents and teachers, we must “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6), and in the Great Commission; Jesus said the way we should go is “into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15).
David Livingstone said, “God had only one Son, and He made Him a missionary.” Jesus came as our missionary to earth. He relinquished everything in heaven to provide the way for us (and all people) to come into relationship with Him. He knew the cost before Him, and the price He paid was beyond anything we could imagine.
In Hebrews 12:2, the Bible says we are to look to Jesus, “the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.” Jesus’ incredible love compelled Him to the cross. His burning desire was to fully obey the will of the Father, providing a way for humanity to be reconciled back to God. Jesus was willing to sacrifice whatever it took: His position in heaven, His unsurpassed riches and glory, His reputation, and even His very life. Jesus was whipped, beaten, tortured, and despised—all for the joy that was set before Him.
Isaiah 9:2–3 describes the joy of harvest as a light shining through darkness. There is rejoicing when a lost coin is found! There is joy when a shepherd finds a lost sheep or when a prodigal finally comes home! Luke 15:7 tells us that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
This is the joy that led Jesus to the cross.
How many of us are so captivated by God’s love that we would be willing to lay down everything to follow Him?
We should take a moment to consider our lives and our priorities from God’s eternal perspective:
- As we teach and train our children, what are we hoping they will achieve?
- As we steward God’s resources, what are we saving toward?
- As we influence the next generation, what dreams are we instilling?
- As we talk to God, what is the primary focus of our prayers?
As Christians, we must realize that God’s love, His passionate love, resides in us. Are we willing to allow this love to flow through us (and through our children) to the world? Second Corinthians 5:14–15 says, “For the love of Christ compels us . . . that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”
Like Hannah, we must realize that our child is actually God’s child—entrusted to us for only a short time. We need to release our child to God and then follow His guidance to raise His child for His divine purposes!
My prayer is for the simple words in this (website) to penetrate deep into your soul and spirit. I know you don’t need more information; but we all need more inspiration. I pray that God’s love for the world will explode in your heart like a blast of dynamite. I hope you will be moved by the things that move God’s heart and that you will allow God’s precious Holy Spirit to impart this heart into your child.
We’ve all heard the famous saying, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” I say, “May the child in our cradle reach the world . . . for the One who rules it all!”
* Taken from the book The Mission Minded Child: Raising a New Generation to Fulfill God's Purpose by Ann Dunagan