There is no doubt that all parents with school-age children are gripped by the uncertainty about the coming school year. Usually it is a time to shop for school clothes, enjoy backyard games under the stars, and spend the last long days at the beach or pool for the mental and physical health of your children.
A mother of four in my neighborhood recently raised her hands and exclaimed, “Only God knows what this school year will bring!” How right she is – only God really knows. Busy, stressed-out parents hoping our problems are behind us after the lockdowns and home school are finding that the nightly news brings more stress and uncertainty as Covid variants flare up across the country.
Here’s something to think about: Can we let uncertainty work for us instead of against us, deepen our faith in God and put Him in control? Let’s see how we could pray before this school year begins.
Remember how much God loves our children
First, let’s remember that no one loves our children more than God – not even us, although that can be difficult to understand! As human beings, we cannot reach the depths of love that God – who is love – has for our children. And although we often feel powerless as parents, God never feels that way. You are always safe with Him.
Recall what God’s own Son said: “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not stop them, for such as this is the kingdom of heaven.’ “(Matthew 19:14)
Let’s examine this verse in more detail. Jesus asks adults not to prevent children from being close to him. In this day and age, could we “hinder” the children we love so much with our never-ending need for complete control? Do we teach our children by example to rely on their own understanding and strength instead of God? In the remainder of this verse, Jesus specifically states that the kingdom belongs to the children. Let that sink in for a moment! Our precious children already have the inheritance from heaven.
Perhaps we can pray Heavenly Father to help me not to rely on my own understanding of the future and what Covid could bring my family this school year, but to rely entirely on You instead. Help me to see how much you love my children and always keep your watchful eye on them, every moment of their day. Bless our families with peace, patience, and a deeper sense of your closeness.
Ask for wisdom in gathering information and making decisions
A very positive, proactive prayer could be asking the Lord to guide us as we gather information about school policies and health regulations and receive advice from our doctors and other health professionals on decisions that affect our children, including masks and vaccines . A very frustrating facet of the Covid pandemic is that information is constantly changing as new variants emerge, data changes and “hot spots” evolve both in our country and around the world. Just take a tour of the cable news channels and you will find wildly contradicting advice – often based not only on medicine but also on politics. It is our job as responsible parents to carefully analyze the information in order to find the right answers for our children.
God knows what is right for every single family and every single child. You couldn’t go to a better counselor for strength and wisdom! Proverbs 18:15 reminds us: “The heart of the understanding gains knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it.”
We might pray: Dear Lord, guide us to the best information available and to wise and critical medical professionals who really care about the well-being of our children. Let us be courageous, if necessary, to face those acting for political rather than educational and / or health reasons, and let us always bless and lead the authorities with wisdom, clarity and the very best of data. Let us listen carefully, Lord, as we lead our families into the coming school year.
Pray that this year our children will get the best education possible – no matter what they look like
Many parents are very concerned about the disruptions in their children’s education as Covid drags on, alternately terrifying and exhausting us with ubiquitous health threats. Many children across the country will be masked and observe social distancing, and many activities will in all likelihood be scaled back or canceled for health reasons. You may be wondering if your kids are going to learn anything at all!
It can be helpful to remember that learning takes place in very different ways. Perhaps this year or two your child will grow more emotionally and spiritually than academically. Perhaps God wants our children to develop different qualities; Creativity, patience and empathy, for example. In earlier years American children faced famine, drought, war, and poverty; Many children around the world are still dealing with these problems. My own children were in school during September 11th, 2001, and their parents did not know what to do or where to turn because the whole nation had been attacked. Church attendance skyrocketed, and children learned other skills in 2001 and 2002 – to live with fear, sift through conflicting information, and appreciate the gift of life itself. The wisdom schoolchildren acquired in the days after 9/11 was just as important as academics, and I see the growth they experienced then is reflected today in the deep and thoughtful young men who became them.
A prayer to this might be: Lord, open me in uncertain times to the hidden blessings as well as the blessings that are available to my children. Help me relax about academics and trust that you are delivering everything they need for a happy, healthy, and productive future. Help us put our problems into context and see that your gift of life in itself is always worth celebrating, no matter what our current problems are.
Proverbs 16: 3 says, “Commit whatever you do to the Lord, and he will make your plans.” Perhaps we can understand this passage to tell us to stay near the Lord when our understanding of the strengths we can gain in this uncertain time grows. He will accompany us as parents and grandparents in the coming school year and maybe also let us grow.
Every generation has its struggles and obstacles, and Covid-19 will go down in history as a time of trial and frequent suffering. But it can also be a time of victory if we trust and believe in God – and let Him take care of us.
Here are some other Bible verses to think about as the school year approaches:
“The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run there and are safe. ”- Proverbs 18:10
“You will keep those whose minds steadfast in perfect peace because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the eternal rock ”(Isaiah 26: 3-4)
“When the righteous cry out for help, the Lord hears and saves them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17)
Photo credit: © Getty Images / Drazen Zigic
Deirdre Reilly is a writer and editor, and her comment has appeared on various websites including CBN.com, FoxNews.com, and others. Her new book “The Pretend Christian: Traveling Beyond Denomination to the True Jesus” describes her personal journey through doubt and fear to true faith. You can connect with Deirdre at www.deirdreilly.com or follow her on Twitter at @deirdrewrites.