Early in the morning of September 29, 1982, a twelve-year-old Illinois girl died after taking a capsule of Extra Strength Tylenol. Six others who took the medicine also died. Soon investigators discovered a link to the medication. Someone had entered supermarkets and drugstores over several weeks, removed packages of Tylenol from the shelves, contaminated their contents with cyanide at another location, and then replaced the bottles. Urgent warnings were broadcast, and police drove through Chicago neighborhoods issuing the announcement over loudspeakers. A nationwide recall of Tylenol products ensued, and mothers and fathers hugged their kids a little tighter. The result: parental anxiety soared sky high.
While I’ve never had cause to worry for the life of one of my children, I can relate to the universal struggle of entrusting them to God’s will. Author Gunila Baumann has helped me in this. In her book, Releasing Your Children to the Lord: A Story and Guide for Parents, Baumann reminds us that parenting—the most influential job in the world—requires a daily dose of faith, not fear.
Baumann knew there would be dangers in allowing each of her children to fly far away from home, and they all did. But she also knew that the safest place for them to be was in the center of God’s will. Her story chronicles the great blessing she found in her role of supporting, praying for, and communicating with her daughters and son. We can only imagine how important this was when, as missionaries, two of them were unjustly imprisoned overseas. (You can read more about this in Dan Baumann’s book, Imprisoned in Iran.)
Children are a gift to us from God. From the early years all the way to adulthood and beyond, we can trust Him to direct their future. Psalm 112:7 says, “He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”
What is the first step in releasing our children to the Lord? Here is a lovely answer from Gunila, inspired by Psalm 25:4–15: Father, show our children your ways, teach them your paths, guide them in your truth. Lord, remember your great mercy and love for them, for you are good, all your ways are loving and faithful. Help our children to keep your commands and be humble, and may the fear of God be on them. May their eyes be always on you, Lord. Thank you for your promises of prosperity and an abundant inheritance.