Recently my wife and I were planning to attend a family weekend at her parents’ lake cabin. My two children were excited to play in the lake, roast marshmallows and sleep in a tent. The night before we were to leave I noticed that my son felt a bit warm. We took his temperature and sure enough it was high. It wasn’t long before he looked pale, wouldn’t eat anything, and would only sit on the couch watching television. His sister would come down with the same thing a few days later. You always hear parents say there is nothing worse than when your children are sick. Watching them with the stomach flu, a cold, a fever, or God forbid something very serious can challenge us as parents and can challenge our faith. Parents truly shine and display the real meaning of the parenting vocation when they are taking care of their sick children. While my children were sick I couldn’t help but think of the time and effort I put into their care. Worrying about every cough, every drink of water they would take, and every degree their temperature would rise. It made me realize how lacking my care for them was in their most serious condition. The condition they inherited from me which I inherited from Adam; that this world can never heal. There isn’t a doctor on earth who can help us with the chronic sickness of sin.
To be sure, God has given us all great healing through the work of doctors and medicine. These are just temporary fixes to the disease of sin that slowly and sometimes quickly kills us. It is our condition, our lot in life…we are dying. Sin caused that pimple on your face, the arthritis in your hand, the cholesterol in your blood, cancer, suicide, abortion…the list goes on and on. Sin sucks; the pain and suffering we endure in this world is hard to handle. I have never been a “pull yourself up by your boot straps and get it done” kind of guy when it comes to sin. When I think about sin and what it does to us, I think it’s ridiculous how much people deny it and try to fight against it. It may be very unloving of me to chalk everything up to sin but there is no other way to explain the abundant amount of crap that goes on in the world today. Everything is rooted in the fact that we are all sinners who deserve to die. That includes everyone, even our children. As a parent that’s tough to handle. My children can be little hellions at times, but do they deserve to die? The answer is yes, just like their dad deserves to die.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NASB)
So as a father, what can I do to help my children in battling the sin they will carry with them their whole life? First, I need to understand that I can’t do anything to help them. On top of that, my own sin only makes things worse. Most nights I’d rather go to bed early then kneel down and pray with my children. I battle with bouts of self-righteousness because we get them to church and Sunday school. Christian parents need to understand that it is always God who does the work. It’s His work in baptism. It’s His work in the forgiveness of sins. It’s His true body and blood in the Sacrament of the Altar. When trouble and pain comes in this life, parents must always turn their children to the cross of Jesus Christ. God knows our sin, He knows our struggles, and He loved us so much that He provided an answer to them all. The grace of God comes to us through faith in Jesus Christ. Sin and death were defeated at the cross. Repent and hear the Gospel. The world can keep its prescriptions; as they will fade away. The cure has already been found in Jesus Christ.