As she prays for her young-adult children, Christine Johnson ponders the mysteries of God's timing, noting that Jesus arrives precisely when He means to.
I am now the mother of two adults: one who’s a rising senior in college and the other who moved out on her own before she turned 21 so she could navigate the world on her terms. This is a phase of parenthood that actually caught me off-guard, to be honest. Our younger daughter has been enrolled in summer semesters both last year and this, and is an RA to boot, so she’s rarely in our home anymore. And our older daughter is extremely headstrong and independent—which, really, isn’t anything new.
Our older daughter has also left the Faith, much to my dismay. I know she’s finding her way in the world, and I know she was given a foundation, but it’s really hard. Christmas and Easter have become times I feel the empty space in the pew much more than I do any other time of the year. I look at other families with their grown children visiting and, to be frank, I feel a level of hurt and jealousy I probably ought to be ashamed of.
Not too long ago, I was looking around at the stained glass in our parish. It’s probably been at least a decade since the first window was done, but I still love to look at the saints in our windows, as well as the four large windows depicting Jesus at various times in His ministry. One window that’s right next to where now sit shows Jesus raising the daughter of Jairus from the dead. It’s quite pretty, and there’s even a small butterfly near the girl, symbolizing her resuscitation from the dead.
While contemplating this familiar piece, it struck me that those of us who have children who have fallen away are a lot like Jairus and his wife. Our children are in spiritual peril, perhaps even spiritually dead. Sometimes it might feel like our prayers for them are going unanswered. Sometimes we might despair and feel like our prayers are useless. We might even feel like God is putting us off, but God loves our children even more than we do, and His timing is perfect.
Jairus and his wife lost their young daughter to death, but Jesus changed that. He even paused along the way to the house when the woman with the hemorrhage brushed her fingers along the fringes of His robe so that He could address her needs, as well. This might have felt like an unnecessary delay to Jairus and his family, but Jesus had time for both.
We see a similar pattern when Jesus heard that Lazarus was ill. Mutual friends go and ask Him to come and help. When they went back to Bethany, Jesus waited three days. He waited to leave. And when He arrived, it seemed like it was too late. But, of course, it wasn’t.
What I’m trying to remember is that Jesus knows what I want for my children. He knows how badly I want it for them, and He knows how much my heart breaks with every passing day that my prayers seem to be unanswered.
But His timing is perfect, and it’s not my timing.
If Jesus can raise Lazarus and Jairus’ daughter from literal death, He can do the same for my child who has fallen so far away from the Faith.
Until His time to do this arrives, I must wait and try—try—to be patient. I have to wait to hear Him say, “Talitha koum.”
Copyright 2022 Christine Johnson
Images: (top) Canva; stained-glass window photo copyright 2022 Christine Johnson, all rights reserved.
About the Author
Christine Johnson has been married to Nathan since 1993 and is the mother of two homeschool graduates. She and Nathan live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, where she tries to fit in as a transplanted Yank. She blogs at Domestic Vocation about her life as a wife, mother, and Lay Dominican.