When I pray for our sons, I ask for the good. Not for the suffering. Moms are supposed to relieve all that, right? I’ve spent a lifetime dedicated to their well being. There’s nothing too good for them. So I prayed for their success. Favor. Blessings. Smooth goings. I don’t want them to suffer. It’s what I lived to prevent every day since they were born. Making sure they didn’t fall down. Run in front of a car. Touch the hot stove. My mission was preventing their pain. Protecting them from danger and evil. And teaching them what’s right so they wouldn’t suffer the consequences of poor choices.
So this Mom and Dad checked their homework. Helped them study for tests. Practiced shooting hoops. Provided golf and tennis lessons. Supervised practicing piano and guitar. Bought new clothes. Gadgets. Anything we could do to help them succeed. Our purpose was to bring good. No way did suffering, pain, difficulty, or failure enter the picture.
That’s why I totally get that mother in scripture who wanted her sons exalted to fame and fortune. You remember her. The wife of Zebedee. Fondly nicknamed, the Sons of Thunder, these guys had a mom like none else. To think she would have approached Jesus with such boldness actually ticked off the other disciples. To ask if her boys could sit on the right and left hand of the King of kings when he came into power took real gumption. I can just picture the buzz going around the other ten. Whispers, complaints, comparison and jealousy. But she had her boys’ future in mind.
Trouble is, Mrs. Zebedee didn’t count the cost of the positions she desired. She was asking for the good without realizing suffering was attached. There were conditions to be met. Scripture tells us that Jesus stopped the uproar of the gang with a rebuke. Would her sons be willing to drink the cup of suffering that the Master was about to consume? Could she endure that? This mom really didn’t know what she was asking. She didn’t realize all the pain that went with all the glory?
I didn’t pray for the suffering my children have endured these past few years. I prayed for their good. But perhaps all the good I’ve hoped for could only come through suffering. Our sons left the comfort of familiar surroundings to answer the call of God. It brought pain to all of us. But what was produced far outweighs any of the hurt. Beautiful compassion to gain a shepherd’s heart. Hunger for more of Jesus to reflect Him to a dying world. Obedience to plant a church. Take a risk. Move out of town. Start a business. Not so much fame or fortune, but I have witnessed more growth and maturity in them that could ever come through good alone. I have seen fruit. They have become my teachers now.
The winds of adversity make our kids stronger. We may not like it and we can’t pray away all their pain. But we can pray for grace to endure. And wisdom so the Almighty will work something good out of their suffering.
What’s the glory you want for your sons or daughters? Do you identify with the wife of Zebedee? Are you affected by the Mother Syndrome?