We cannot save our children. Which is why, when I see a rebellious teenager of Christian parents, my first thought is not, “Wow, those parents did a really bad job.” For all I know they are better parents than I will ever be.
The truth of God’s power to save, of His exclusive power to save, should be a source of immense comfort and hope to us as mothers. It is not our job to save our children! God has not placed this unbearable burden on our backs. Salvation is God’s and it is His alone. Not only should this flood our souls with comfort, it should fuel them with hope. Our God saves! Our God loves to save! “You have reason for hope as parents who desire to see your children have faith” writes Tedd Tripp:
“The hope is in the power of the gospel. The gospel is suited to the human condition. The gospel is attractive. God has already shown great mercy to your children. He has given them a place of rich privilege. He has placed them in a home where they have heard His truth. They have seen the transforming power of grace in the lives of His people. Your prayer and expectation is that the gospel will overcome their resistance as it has yours.”
But we must also watch ourselves, lest this hope-inducing truth morphs into a subtle “let go and let God” approach to mothering. We cannot save our children, but that doesn’t mean we are free from responsibility. God has called us to a significant task: we are to teach, train, and discipline our children so that they will obey, honor, and walk in the ways of the Lord. This is gospel work. It is hard work. And we must persevere in this work. We must be faithful, despite our failures, despite the apparent lack of fruit in our children’s lives.
And, then, when we have spent our strength doing diaper and discipline duty, we must turn and “leave all with the God of all.” For we are mothers, and only mothers. Servants who have only done our duty. We have planted. We have watered. And God—and God alone—can save. He will give the growth (1 Cor. 3:16).