“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.”~Psalm 103:8-13 ESV
As of late, my husband and I have been extremely challenged by our son’s strong will, or as a friend describes it, her son’s spiciness; this has been ongoing for a few years now. Merriam-Webster defines “strong will” as being determined to do something even if others say it should not be done. This generally doesn’t go over too well with authority figures, i.e., us parents. The synonyms listed are headstrong, decisive, iron-willed, bullish, and obstinate. Ohhh, my, how this list describes many scenarios that play out in our home daily!
We’ve both looked at each other bewildered at times, saying, “Seriously? He just does whatever he wants to do!” This is the case whether we gently correct, more firmly discipline, or give rewards or consequences. Regardless of the various parenting methods we try, it doesn’t seem to help or matter; he often chooses to do whatever he wants to (or not) at any given moment. However a parent may express their child’s strong will, there are particular moments or seasons that may begin to feel overwhelming, or like you’re failing and drowning with a lack of understanding and direction.
I gently heard the Lord say to me, “Hmmm, does this remind you of anyone or anything?” Then these scriptures from the Old and New Testaments came to mind. The first describes the people of Israel following God through the leadership of Moses, but they turn to their own ways of worshipping an idol in the form of a calf. In the second, Stephen warns the supreme council of the Jews (the Sanhedrin) many years later of their own rebellious hearts modeling after their ancestors in turning to their own ways and killing Jesus, the very God, and Messiah who they had been waiting for.
📖 Then the Lord said, “I have seen how stubborn and rebellious these people are. Now leave me alone so my fierce anger can blaze against them, and I will destroy them…” Exodus 32:9-10 NLT
📖 “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it. When they heard these things, they were enraged and ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” Acts 7:51-55 ESV
We all, children and parents alike, are also obstinate, stubborn, and stiff-necked in nature. We think we know best and do what we want, apart from our perfect Father’s loving leadership and authority in our own lives. What amazes me from the above passages is that God continues to have compassion on the Israelites (and us!), seeking a relationship with his kids over and over again, the very ones who not only rebel against him repeatedly but who actually murdered His son.
As much as God’s using us to teach and train up our son, He is equally (if not more) using him to change and transform us as well! We endlessly offer our children the same gifts of forgiveness, grace, and compassion daily. No matter how strong-willed or spicy our child may be, the Holy Spirit is more than enough for us and wants us to depend upon and cry out to Him for help continually. Where we lack, He has an abundance — of both resources and answers. When we fail, His grace redeems even greater and extends even further. What matters most is that we keep seeking and loving the Lord through our own inadequacy and failure and continue to point our children to the ONE Who never fails and loves them perfectly.
🙏 Pray with me-
Holy Spirit, I love and seek You today for everything I need, especially in our parenting. Give me new eyes to see and respond to my child as You do, not through behavioral issues, challenges, or diagnosis. Give me a fresh perspective to view them through their potential—even if we’re not quite there yet. Remind me of how you’ve embraced me amidst my own strong will and rebellious heart at times. Help me extend the same grace, compassion, loving patience, and clear discipline and correction I have received from you. Show me how to speak words of life and call forth things within my child that may not be just yet, for (“…God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.” Romans 4:17 NASB) Please mature my child’s strong-will into purposeful, significant ways You use throughout their life and this world! Lord, grow my son/daughter to be steadfast and determined for You and Your kingdom, a deep, loyal lover of Jesus and others, perceptive, resilient, an incredible problem-solver, and courageous! Please help us reach their hearts deeper and draw us closer together in relationship through the challenges we’ve been facing. Father, give us more wisdom and understanding into what’s going on in their minds, hearts & lives right where they are. Please give me discernment that is very specific and beneficial to them. You are God, and I am not, so I fully surrender to Your good plans and purposes in both our lives, even if it hurts sometimes. Thank You so much for the incredible blessing of this child that You have given us! Show me how I can bless them today. I love you so much, Lord! In the mighty and beautiful name of Jesus, Amen.
In His Great Compassion,
Krystle Gray & the Help Club for Mom’s Team
- His Eyes of Compassion - March 9, 2023
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