Principle: God never calls you to a task without giving you what you need. He never sends you without going with you.
All parents face the same common problem in their parenting. That particular problem affects their leading, teaching, and, inadvertently, their parenting. Pastor and author Paul Tripp says, “it affects the way they view their children. It shapes their responses in all the hard moments parents face…it leaves many parents feeling unprepared, unable, and discouraged…causes many parents to wish that they could just quit, when they know they can’t.” That common problem… is the reliance upon God’s grace. “Understanding God’s grace will change you, and as it changes you, it will change the way you relate to and parent your children” (Tripp).
“There is nothing more important to consistent, faithful, patient, loving, and effective parenting than to understand what God has given you in the grace of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Tripp)
At times, and during many parenting struggles, many grasp the concepts of past grace, which is the forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus. They also have a firm grasp of future grace, that is, that God will show His grace in the future. He will provide blessings for those who persevere and are faithful to His calling. As Paul Tripp says, “But the problem is that they have little understanding of present grace.” Many parents wonder where God’s grace is in their exhaustion, anger, frustrations, insecurity, and, quite simply, their current battles.
God’s Present Grace
God’s grace is not just in the past or future but also in the present. Paul Tripp writes, “As a child of God, you have been given not only glorious past and future grace but amazing present grace. This grace reaches you wherever God has placed you. This grace reaches you in your darkest parenting moments” (Tripp).
God’s grace is ever-present in the hardest of parenting. For example, His grace reaches our insecurities, lack of wisdom, regrets, and feelings of inability to parent well. God is always accessible for wisdom, love, assurance, and grace, no matter the situation.
“Like everything else God calls people to, God doesn’t call people to be parents because they are able” (Tripp)
God’s call to parenting is not selective based upon ability. “If you read your Bible carefully, you will understand that God doesn’t call able people to do important things. Abraham wasn’t able, Moses wasn’t able, Gideon wasn’t able, David wasn’t able, [and] the disciples weren’t able” (Tripp). Essentially, there are no able people, especially parents. We need God’s grace to help us be and do all that He has tasked us with. “God did not create human beings to be independently able; He designed us to be dependent” (Tripp).
Do you feel that you are inadequate for such an important job as parenting? Are you discouraged in your parenting? Paul Tripp reminds readers that, “God calls unable people to do important things because ultimately what he’s working on is not your immediate success, but that you would come to know him, love him, rest in his grace, and live for his glory.” Parents can be encouraged to know that whether they know it or not, they are not able, without God’s help, to be the parent He wants without His continual work in our lives.
Our parenting is not based on our ability. In fact, parents who think they are “able” have a misunderstanding. “Able parents tend to be proud and self-assured…they are proud of their ability, they act too quickly and with too much self-confidence, and because they do, they lack patience and understanding…they pride themselves in keeping the law, tend to give their children more law than grace and ae quicker to judge than to understand” (Tripp).
There is help for the discouraged and the prideful parent. In fact, God offers Himself as our remedy to all things in our lives. “God never sends you into anything without going with you. He never tells you to do something without giving you what you need to do it” (Tripp).
Ephesians 3:20-21 states, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” No matter what parents are facing, God offers Himself, His grace, His love, and His provisions for all parenting and instruction. “He knew what every piece of your struggle would be as a parent, so he knew that the only thing that would help you would be himself” (Tripp).
God’s grace rescues parents from themselves. Meaning, His grace changes a parent’s heart, works by making their heart tender, and frees parents from the bondage of regret. His grace is ever-present. “On the cross, Jesus purchased our complete forgiveness by the shedding of his blood: past, present, and future. This means that we can boldly come to him in our failure, receive his forgiveness, deposit our regret at his feet, and move on to new and better ways of doing what he has called us to do as parents” (Tripp). Take courage; as followers of Jesus, we have God’s wisdom, instruction, and grace, to do the task He has given us.
How are you showing grace to your children?
Do you find it hard to show grace?
Are you in need of God’s grace and instruction to parent well?
Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family. Paul Tripp, Crossway publishing.
*All material, quotes, and references are taken from the book Parenting by Paul Tripp