by Pam Williams, a freelance writer and pastor’s wife from Pennsylvania.
My husband and both my children served in the military. For some reason, this Independence Day I heard and read many media commentaries expressing gratitude to those who have sacrificed to ensure our country’s freedoms. The words touched my heart and, as feelings triggered memories, my thoughts traveled back to the morning I watched our son Seth packing for basic training. During those bittersweet moments I remember wavering between beaming with pride and aching with grief.
With a flurry of last minute instructions, endearments, and hugs, we tearfully said our good-byes. Seth’s steps would now carry him beyond his dad’s and my daily contact and guidance.
In previous conversations with Seth, we had discussed the influences he might encounter in the world. As a young child, he had trusted Jesus as his Savior and throughout his life he had been taught Christian values and morals. Now the time had come to trust God to care for Seth as he set off on his own.
We prayed for Seth’s safety, his success, and his spiritual protection. We clung to the scripture, “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
After the first ten days, Seth was allowed to call home. “Mom, you know how concerned you were about the kind of influences I would run into? Well, you don’t need to worry,” he said, “God is taking care of that.”
He excitedly told us that he had been to church with two Christians he met in the barracks. The familiar hymns had brought a lump to his throat and tears to his eyes, but looking around, he noticed he wasn’t the only one struggling to keep his composure.
These same fellows shared his taste in Christian music. They spent their free time together and each night at “lights out” one of them prayed for their entire group. At a time when Seth really needed the support and fellowship of Christian friends God abundantly provided for him.
Dick and I thank God for answering our prayers. When we feared that Seth would get no spiritual encouragement, the Lord sent him strong Christian friends. Where we had expected negative peer pressure, Seth had met other young men dedicated to serving God while also serving their country.
Will your son or daughter soon be moving beyond the reach of your protection? Are you struggling with releasing them to the unknown? Be assured, we do not send our children out alone. God is right there with our sons and daughters, encircling them with His love and exerting His influence, as only our Heavenly Father can.