Authored by Mara Hodler
I remember the day very well. I was nine years old and something happened with my parents. They made a decision I didn’t agree with, and for the first time in my life the thought that my parents may not always be right actually crossed my mind. It was just one of the many steps that a girl takes on the journey to independence.
I don’t even remember what the decision was, but from that point on my eyes were opened to the fact that my parents could make mistakes. Now as a mom, I am pretty sure that my kids came to that realization much earlier than I did. Part of the reason for this is that I have frequently told them I will make mistakes. I will let them down. At times, I will fail them. Maybe even significantly. It happens.
It is a fact that people let you down. Parents, teachers, siblings, pastors, friends, and family all will, at some point, let you down. When you come to that realization, whether at nine or at 19, it can be very disappointing. It is especially disappointing if you have built your security, your sense of value, or your belief system around people.
Once you come to the conclusion that even the most loved and trusted people in your life can fail you, your next question is probably who can you trust fully and completely? And the answer is really simple: you can trust God. God designed it that as you transition into adulthood, you become more and more aware of the fact that people can only take you so far, and you need a personal relationship with Jesus in order to be truly grounded.
When you look at many of the heroes in the Bible, you will see that Daniel, Moses, Esther, Ruth, Samuel, Joseph, and others all have one thing in common: they were all removed from their families. Their parents either died, or were captured, or somehow found themselves in circumstances that caused their children to not be raised by them.
I’m sure that, for each of them, being separated from their parents was traumatic. Their world probably rocked for a little while, but then what happened? Each of them turned to the One they had as the foundation of their lives. They turned to God. There they found the hope, joy, courage, and faith that they needed to continue.
In the Psalms, David says, “When my mother and my father forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.”1 He knew that even if his parents were unable to care for him, he could count on God to be there for him. He knew who would never fail and where to put his faith.
I’m not writing this so you realize that you have sucky parents who will fail you. I’m writing this because I know that, whether or not you realize it yet, every single person in your life will let you down, at least a little. That doesn’t mean that those same people won’t come through for you in some amazing ways as well. It just means that as you transition from childhood into adulthood, you need to decide to not build your security, your identity, and your faith around people. You need to know that no matter who fails you, God never will.
Looking back over my childhood, and even my adult life, I can certainly say that my parents have been there for me. They have been my most ardent advocates all of my life. But there have been times when, for example, they could not be physically present even though I felt I needed them there right then. Or when the comfort they offered was simply not enough to outweigh the disappointment or heartbreak I was dealing with. And that was okay, because I was not looking to them to be my all in all.
Maybe the idea of looking to your parents (or anyone else) to be your all in all sounds silly to you. Maybe you are someone who, from a young age, has experienced disappointment from significant people in your life. Perhaps your parents went through a divorce, or maybe they never really devoted the attention and effort that it takes to be a good parent.
No matter which end of the spectrum you are at, there is good news: God loves you more than anyone ever will, He wants to be closer to you than your closest confidant, and He will always be there for you. He will never forsake you.2
A lot of big promises, I know. And you can spend the rest of your life proving them true, if you like, just like Daniel, Esther, David, Samuel, Ruth, Moses, and many more did. Most likely you have great parents by your side guiding you along life’s journey, answering your questions, and modeling good choices for you, comforting you and cheering you on. But, even if you don’t, even if you feel all alone, God is in your corner.
Your success, happiness, and security are not determined by any fallible mortal. How’s that for a promise? Even if your father and mother, the people closest to you and most invested in you, forsake you, you can rest assured that God promises He will shore you up.3 This means He will support you, care for you, guide you, and invest in you. Of course, I don’t think anyone’s parents would do so willingly, but things like illness, family crises, or financial restraints can bring other priorities into your parents’ lives.
Just remember that you are a child of God and He can do anything, for you, through you, and in spite of you! Make that the foundation for your life and you will always be grounded.
1 Psalm 27:10 NIV
2 Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV
3 Psalm 27:10 NIV
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2015 by The Family International