Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Plans I Have For You

The news is full of the death of singer Whitney Houston. She was a complex woman of great talent, plagued by addiction and self-destructive behavior. And she was a mother. I saw a story on Yahoo this morning tracing the lives of children left behind by famous parents who died prematurely. Such an event changes the life of the child forever. While Whitney Houston's daughter or Michael Jackson's kids may have not had normal lives by my standards, it was their normal, and the death of their parent shattered that normal.

Many years ago this issue came up in conversation with my own children. It may have been precipitated by the death of Princess Diana, but I truly don't remember for sure what brought about the conversation. One of them asked, with the other listening closely, "What will happen to us if you die?"  Not really sensing the underlying fears I answered that their Daddy would take care of them. They left, only to return later to ask me "What if Daddy dies too?" Still not really understanding the fear that was generating these questions, I pointed out that it was extremely unlikely that they would be left orphans. Finally, in frustration, one of them blurted, "But if it did happen, where would we live?" We had arrived at the real question.

"If you die, where will I live?" is a very real question to children. None of us really wants to think about it or talk about it, but to a child this is a much more urgent question than what happens to them when they die. They are acutely aware that they are not ready to fend for themselves. So they need to know who will take care of them if something should happen to us.

When I finally locked in and answered my daughter's question about where they would live, they went back to regular activities, their fears at rest. I had a plan. How about you? Have you made provision for your kids? Do you have a plan? A will? Some life insurance to pay for their college education?  The Bible reassures all of us that God (our heavenly Father, right?) has a plan for us: For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NRSV

Our loving God knows our fears and rains down reassurances we don't even realize we will need, until we do.  Try to do the same for your children. Use these teachable moments to give them information that will make them feel secure.  Let them know you have a plan. And if you don't - please move making one to the top of your to-do list. We don't know what tomorrow holds, we can only know who holds it.

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