Reflection on Christian Relationship to our Children

Ohio Yearly Meetingís General Query Number Three challenges us to be faithful to Jesus in our relationship to and our treatment of our children. We need to be obedient to Jesus in caring for our youngsters regardless of their ages or mental capabilities. Do we treat our sons and daughters as if they are children of our Heavenly Father, children who recognize through our influence that Jesus guides them inwardly and outwardly in their quest to dwell in Godís presence?

This Query is particularly difficult, but not impossible, for me to consider. My son is severely retarded, so severely that he needs to live in a group home with his peers. I need to recognize that I must seek Jesusí direction before I teach my child the bountiful message that Jesus loves him as much as the Lord loves all children.

This is not always comfortable. I sometimes doubt my own capacity to communicate with Fulton about Godís power and desire to offer His love and guidance to my son. In those moments I must remember that Jesus loves all children to such an extent that He invites them - all of them - to come to Him. I must not be a hindrance in Fultonís finding the love of God. That is why whenever I mention Jesus to my child I smile in His grace, communicating the caring nature of our loving Lord. Fulton may be retarded, but he senses whether I am sincere or not when I speak of our Creator. When he recognizes my obedience to the Lord, this child of 43 year smiles approvingly. Yes, the Lord is with him in his struggles.

As the same time, however, and this is especially difficult for me, God requires me to recognize that my son, as well as all other children, can be influenced by Satan to perform acts that are contrary to God. When that happens, I need to reprimand my child in a loving way to enable him to return to Jesusí love. I need to exhibit patience along with the love I feel for him in order to encourage his repentance.

Yet I am not always successful in quelling my sonís rebellion. In those moments, I feel a sense of hopelessness. God reminds me that He is far more powerful than I and does perform miracles in challenging my sonís behavior. When this happens, I must cooperate with the Holy One and let Him be almighty.

What seems to help is devoting myself to prayer before I visit my son. As a result, God inspires me to be more accepting of Fultonís condition, and I am filled with Godís light, Christ Jesus, before I see him. Praise the Lord for His goodness!

- Arthur Berk
Reprinted from The Conservative Friend 2006, by kind permission of the author, Arthur Berk.

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