September 17, 2009

Taking our children to Christ


fter a difficult day yesterday, filled with frustrations from a disobedient child, this morning’s passage from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional seemed particularly timely.

Mark 9:17–19

“Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.”

I have found myself trying to convince my son of his need to obey based on logical arguments about how society cannot survive if people do not follow the rules. I have tried to lay down the law as an authoritarian father. I have pressed rewards and punishments into service. But there seems to be little evidence of effectiveness.

Have I been forgetting all along that the most important field trip my child needs to take is the one to meet Jesus?

Despairingly the poor disappointed father turned away from the disciples to their Master. His son was in the worst possible condition, and all means had failed, but the miserable child was soon delivered from the evil one when the parent in faith obeyed the Lord Jesus’ word, “Bring him unto me.” Children are a precious gift from God, but much anxiety comes with them. They may be a great joy or a great bitterness to their parents; they may be filled with the Spirit of God, or possessed with the spirit of evil. In all cases, the Word of God gives us one receipt for the curing of all their ills, “Bring him unto me.” O for more agonizing prayer on their behalf while they are yet babes! Sin is there, let our prayers begin to attack it. Our cries for our offspring should precede those cries which betoken their actual advent into a world of sin. In the days of their youth we shall see sad tokens of that dumb and deaf spirit which will neither pray aright, nor hear the voice of God in the soul, but Jesus still commands, “Bring them unto me.” When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and foam with enmity against God; then when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician’s words, “Bring them unto me.” Never must we cease to pray until they cease to breathe. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives.

The Lord sometimes suffers his people to be driven into a corner that they may experimentally know how necessary he is to them. Ungodly children, when they show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our morning’s need may be, let it like a strong current bear us to the ocean of divine love. Jesus can soon remove our sorrow, he delights to comfort us. Let us hasten to him while he waits to meet us.


  1. Thanks, Rich, for the blog this morning. Our hearts go out to you as you wrestle with a very difficult situation. We have been, and will continue, to pray for you and David.
    But you don't stand alone! You are numbered with none less than Jesus Himself. Our Lord Jesus also has a rebellious world out of which He redeems and sanctifies a multitude who are called His children, a people whom God has given Him (John 6:37). Notice in Heb. 2:13 how He responds to His situation. "And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me" These two quotes are taken from Isaiah 8:13-18.Applied to the Lord then we see a double attitude: (1) The incarnate Son is one in humanity with those whom he redeems and whom he calls brothers. His first attitude emphasizes His fellow-dependence on God. The humanity He assumed made Him truly one with us in weakness and temptation. But in that experience of human weakness He displays that perfect trust in God that is essential to the realization of the full potential of manhood. (2) Isaiah was addressing an apostate nation - a bunch of rebels. So, he denouned their sin but also showed in that first attitude, his trust in God's sovereign goodness and mercy. It is out of that kind of world that God calls His elect. This attitude, then, is saying that you, Rich, are right in denouncing David's sin but all the while trusting God, in His goodness and mercy, to change him into an obedient, God-fearing child of grace.

  2. Sherry DeFrank9/17/2009 10:40 AM

    I happened to read that this morning too....and then brought all three of my sons to Him! What a comfort to know that they are in His hands, huh? We can trust Him with them in all aspects!

  3. What a great devotional! It reminds me of a comment one of our pastors said recently. He was quoting someone else, though: "There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us."

    Mercy is the disposition of kindness and willingness to help the miserable, afflicted, and helpless. I just prayed for my children on account of this post. Thanks, Richard.

  4. I take joy in Jesus, keep pointing them to Him and show mercy as He has to me. There are times when my heart breaks - and then my kids turn around and totally amaze me. Of course we have "to deal with it." But am I not the same? They are becoming adults and I've learned to let them make their mistakes and show mercy. Much mercy.


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