"And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us" Luke 1:76-78
Even as a new infant, Zacharias spoke into his son's life. And John the Baptist indeed grew as Zacharias had prophesied to him.
When I read accounts like this in the Bible, they always make me pause, because it is so easy as a parent to dictate what we would like for our children's lives. It's entirely too easy to look at that stubborn little three year old and start calling them the little lawyer in the family. That name sticks, and before you know it, that child is seriously considering law school, which is all well and good, except that God's plans for that child had been for them to go into medicine, to be a medical missionary to the unreached people around the world. Whoops! I want to be careful about when I speak into my children something that could affect their ultimate purpose in life. And I wonder exactly how one does that- how do we guard our tongues and be careful? Why, we look back at men like Zacharias, and we see that he didn't just randomly speak to his son, John.
"Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:" Luke 1:67
Zacharias spoke into his son's life with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. He waited until the time was right, and I'm sure he spent some quiet time with God, asking Him for the right words to bless his son with, and they came. With God's help, Zacharias gave voice to the plans God had for that tiny baby, and John's life fulfilled every single word.
It should come as no surprise to hear that I spend a great deal of time praying for my kids. They are two amazing people, and I pray all the time that God would keep them that way. They have such a heart for Jesus, and for people, and I'm constantly praying that they would survive the teenage years (that are creeping ever so close) unscathed, and still earnest in their desire for the things of God. As I've watched my daughter over the last weeks, I've had fleeting thoughts of the person she is becoming, and I found myself casually wondering what kind of man she's going to end up marrying down the road. Of course that led to praying for this mystery man, because I'm sure he's out there somewhere, and someday he's going to be my son-in-law, so I may as well get used to praying for him now. So I pray, but how often do I speak?
Not enough, I'm sure. Oh, I praise them quite often in regards to schoolwork. I want them always to be encouraged and never to feel like they can't get something- they have a work ethic that is 100% due diligence right now. They have no idea that there is such a concept as "just enough". Everything they do, they do full out and to the best of their ability. But when it comes to words about the future, I find myself strangely quiet on the subject. And the reason for that is what I posted up above. I don't want to steer them in the wrong direction.
But as I read those verses in Luke today, it gave me something to ponder. It's something to think about and to spend time talking to God about. Because the words we speak to our children, while guided by the Holy Spirit, can be the very thing that bolsters their spirit and carries them through the next stage of life. I want to make sure that should the moment come to encourage my children in that way come up, that I listen wholeheartedly to the Holy Spirit, and not add my own Mommy embellishments. I see that Zacharias did not add anything superfluous either. He didn't add something like "let him be handsome, let him marry well, let him get an education, etc." He simply let the Holy Spirit have His way. Even as an infant.
May the Holy Spirit have His way with my children, and with our household- especially as we navigate this hectic holiday season.