This post was first shared on Facebook about 4 years ago, intended to encourage missionary parents as they face the reality of raising children between cultures, in unfamiliar and sometimes unsafe places. A missionary friend of mine just reminded me about it, so I decided to share it here.
During my devotions this morning, I came across Isaiah 8:18 and was encouraged in a special way.
Most of us know Isaiah 6:8, “Here am I! Send me!” Isaiah prayed this prayer to God after he heard the Lord pleading for someone to go and spread His message. Isaiah’s simple, heartfelt answer wasn’t just an emotional response to the powerful vision he had just seen: he followed up on it. Preaching God’s word became his life’s work, involving not just himself, but his wife and children. His children went with him to confront evil kings (Isaiah 7:3) and were born and named for the Lord’s purposes (Isaiah 8:3).
I’m sure the names these children carried (such as “Speed the Spoil, Hasten the Prey”) and the situations they found themselves in were not always easy to endure. The people of Judah didn’t listen to Isaiah, so they probably didn’t hold his kids in high regard. The children were public figures by God’s design and never quite fit in with those around them. Classes, family gatherings, and community events were likely awkward at best.
Yet after dealing with all these things, in 8:18, Isaiah repeated and expanded his original prayer, “Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me!”
He realized that being right where God wanted them was the best place for his family and would bring the most honor to Jehovah’s name. He wasn’t afraid to bring his children along as he served the Lord. He knew that God’s call of ministry and promise of protection naturally included his whole family: “And I will wait on the Lord, Who hides His face from the house of Jacob; and I will hope in Him. Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me! We are signs and wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 8:17-18).
I’m so thankful to have parents who made the same choice. I would not trade my multicultured, transient, goodbye/hello-filled childhood for anything. I saw a church born. I watched people get saved and mature into godly leaders. I got to visit a variety of biblically-minded Stateside churches of all different sizes and personalities. I learned what the gospel is and isn’t. I realized that ministry isn’t something big, but that it’s a life made of little decisions to honor God and love people. I saw the “fullness of joy” that a life lived close to God brings (Psalm 16:11).
So, be encouraged when your ministry requires sacrifices from your children! God has no more forgotten or forsaken them than He has forgotten or forsaken you. They will be as blessed by being where God put them as you will be. Their lives are as important to our Father, and He is sovereignly ordering their lives as He has done yours.