“…teach us what we are to do with the boy that will be born” (Judges 13.8).
Many people know the story of Samson, God’s strong man and one of Israel’s judges before the time of the kings. He had such great strength that he killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. What I didn’t know before reading his whole story, is that his barren mother was visited by an angel and told that she would bear a son. She was warned against strong drink and unclean foods during her pregnancy and told never to touch the boy’s head with a razor. The woman told her husband, Manoah, about the angel’s visit and instructions. He entreated God to send the angel again, to “teach us what we are to do with the boy that will be born.”
What if all parents were to ask this of God? What if I had during my pregnancies? You know, though, it’s not too late. Even with Stepford Son nearly 14, and perhaps even especially now, I can beg God to teach me what I am to do with the boy. And with each of my other children, too. It’s never too late to pray for your children, to ask God what you should do to help them grow to be the men and women He created them to be.
I’m sure Mary and St. Joseph prayed this often. They may have had a perfect Son, but they wanted to raise Him properly, to do God’s Will in every instance. They were not passive in their child-rearing; I’m sure they still had to make the hard decisions. God did not want automatons for parents–He wanted living, breathing, loving people to raise His Son. While Mary and St. Joseph may not have had the struggles I do with my children, still, they experienced joy, sorrow, pain, disappointment, uncertainty. And so they prayed. And so must I. I love them, I serve them, I teach them, but most importantly, I pray to God for them. That He will show me how to raise them to His glory.