We parents already live with a lot of anxiety about doing what's best for our children, and when you add in the extra uncertainty that comes with COVID-19 and how overwhelming schooling our children could be this school year, well it’s possible to go into anxiety overload.
There’s a verse in Isaiah that I have found very encouraging and reassuring for all parents during this time of uncertainty regarding your child(ren) and our future.
“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11
You may be familiar with Psalm 23, “The Lord is our Shepherd,” as well as in John 10, when Jesus declares Himself the Good Shepherd that lays down his life for his sheep (John 10:11). Both are an encouraging metaphor for just how much God loves and provides for each of us.
Sheep are not very smart animals. They can’t defend themselves. They can’t find their own food or water. They won’t rest when they need to. And the flies and other bugs will bother their eyes and ears and nostrils so much that the sheep will bash their heads against rocks and trees to find relief--hence the reason the shepherd anoints the sheep’s head with oil. It may not sound attractive to say that we are sheep, but when we’re overwhelmed with anxiety, we are definitely just like those sheep and in need of a Shepherd who can offer us the guidance, comfort, provision, and rest we desperately need.
If we just rest in the fact that we have a Good Shepherd, who loves us so very much that He would die for us and will provide us with everything we need, that kind of perfect love drives out all fear (1 John 4:18).
We know the metaphor that the Lord is our Shepherd, and we know that Jesus loves the little children and wanted them to come to Him (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, and Luke 18:16). So the image of God holding the little lambs close is special and comforting.
But a thought that hit me once about this verse is that the shepherd is only able to hold a lamb close if the mother will let the shepherd do that. If the mother trusts the shepherd, she knows the safest place for her child to be is in their shepherd’s arms.
Clinging to that truth and entrusting our children’s health, safety, and future to the One who already knows what the future holds will provide us with mental and spiritual rest, knowing our children are safe in His arms, the one who loves our children even more than we do.
I absolutely adore this image. Not just of a shepherd holding a lamb close to his beating heart, but of the Creator of the Universe cradling our children in His loving and powerful arms.
In the King James Version, the translation reads that “he carries them in his heart.”
Yes, we love our children, but so does God. He loves our children so much, they are in and near His heart, loved and cherished.
Resting in that truth provides us with mental and spiritual rest, knowing our children are safe in His arms, the one who loves our children even more than we do.
As if this verse isn’t awesome and comforting enough for us as parents, this last bit is just for us. He not only loves and provides for the helpless lambs, but for the parents as well.
He doesn’t love and provide and lead us in a demanding way, but with a gentle invitation to seek Him and trust Him more completely. He will provide every parent with the wisdom, guidance, strength, comfort, and provision we need if we ask, seek, and follow Him, so that we can do our jobs as parents well.
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