Recently there’s been flooding in several states across the country. You may know someone who’s been affected. It might even be you. Over the holidays I received a text from a friend asking for prayer. Their get-away home in North Carolina was involved in a flood. They plan to retire there. So many unknowns. How frightening and what a mess.
It occurred to me that what many of us go through as hurting parents of children who struggle with addictions, mental illness, sexual identity issues, incarceration, suicidal tendencies, self-injury (and more) is much like what people experience in a flood.
- There’s nothing you can do to prevent it from happening. Floods happen when certain circumstances are in place.
- You have no control whatsoever over the situation. None. Zip. Nada, as we say in Orlando. You can’t stop it. It’s coming, like it or not.
- There’s very little warning for you to be able to protect or prepare. In parenting, how do you prepare yourself to have a son or daughter who becomes an addict, tries to end their life, or ends up in prison? You can’t.
- You’re in shock and disbelief that this happened to you. My friend’s home had a small creek running behind it – way behind it. No one ever dreamed it could overflow it’s borders to such an extent. Not in a million years!
- There’s no guarantee what the final outcome will be. Complete destruction or only partial? Neither is wanted, although one is certainly preferred over the other.
- The aftermath could be quite costly and labor intensive. Just how much damage will there be? Will it be a total loss? Can anything of value be recovered? Clean up and restoration take considerable time and money – maybe a lot. It will be a huge burden.
For me, it started with acknowledging there was a problem I was powerless to fix. Someone told me I needed to trust God’s goodness and rest in His Sovereignty. “But my daughter might die!” Was it possible to trust and rest with something this big and dark looming large over my head? What if . . . ? The situation forced me to rework what I really believed.
Did I still believe God was good – even in this mess? Yes.
Then I needed to trust in His goodness – including what I couldn’t understand (which was a lot).
Was I confident I could leave my daughter in God’s hands to care for her – that He was still in control? Yes.
Then I needed to rest in Him. No matter the outcome. The irrevocable losses. The destruction. The agony that may come.
I like what the Bible says in Isaiah 50:10b:
“Let him who walks in the dark (of trouble), who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.”
Lord, remind hurting parents that trust is the key to finding peace on this difficult journey with their troubled child. They’re not alone in the flood. You’re right there with them. You’ll empower them to persevere as they rest in You, their Life-Preserver. None of us could survive on our own.
In the name of Jesus our Rescuer.