Surprise!

The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
1 Corinthians 8:2

We’ve been encouraging you this week to seek a better understanding of your children. We readily admit, however, that no matter how hard you try, your kids will still surprise you. I (JCD) remember calling home years ago from an out-of-state speaking engagement. Danae, who was then thirteen, informed me that she was going to be running in the 880-yard race at a track meet that Saturday. I gasped. “Danae,” I said, “that is a very grueling race. Have you ever run that far before?” She admitted that she hadn’t, even in practice. Though I advised against it, she decided to run in the race anyway.

Well, you can guess what happened—she won the race. The following year, she triumphed in the 880 again, setting a school record in the process. Now I began to get excited. The kid has talent, I thought. She’ll be a great runner someday. Wrong again. Danae ran three more races, winning two of them, and then lost interest in track. So much for fatherly wisdom.

Even if you dedicate yourself to knowing and understanding your children, you won’t always succeed. God has designed our ever-changing sons and daughters as complex, unique human beings. Parents must take to heart the Scripture that says “A patient man has great understanding” (Proverbs 14:29). Your ability to recognize who your children are—and who they will become—will only occur with generous measures of patience and reliance on the Lord.

Before you say good night…

  • How often do your kids surprise you?
  • Are you patient in seeking to understand your kids?

Heavenly Father, we know we must rely on You as we seek to know our children. Grant us patience when our understanding seems inadequate. Enable us to enjoy even the surprising moments with our precious children. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.