By Tom Toone, proud parent of John Toone
Hey Mom and Dad, relax. God is in control!
Our first born John arrived on the scene in 1989. Right away his mom and I started him on Bible stories and verses. (I really enjoyed our bedtime Bible stories until John was about five and started asking questions like, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” You try explaining Romans 8:28 to a five-year-old!) We progressed through the Royal Ambassador Program and Youth Group at church—along with constant reminders at home to “do your Daily Quiet Time”—and wondered/worried if any of this was going to make a difference in his future. As a dad, I also worried about his reluctance to participate in sports, but God had him excel in music and drama. I worried that he didn’t have enough friends, but God countered with a few, good, close friends. I worried about his academics, and God helped my son finish high school as the class Valedictorian. I was anxious about what in-state college he would attend. The Lord led him away to Liberty University. (My heart still aches at the memory of him standing there in the rearview mirror as we pulled away, looking like a little boy again who needed his earthly father’s protection, when his heavenly father had him in the palms of his hands all along.) At first, he majored in teaching Social Studies and I worried about him being able to support himself. Then he switched majors to Biblical Studies and, while I was thrilled for his spiritual calling, now I really worried if he would be able to support himself. Again, he graduated number one in his department at Liberty.
From Liberty he left for Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and I worried about how my son would endure living far from home and the high expectations of the school. Through God’s grace and hard work, he will graduate this May, once again, with the highest academic standing in the entire graduating class when he receives the Broadman and Holman Seminarian award. This time, before I could even begin worrying about his future, God arranged for him to have preaching duties this month in several churches as well as strong job prospects in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
My point is not “Yeah, John” or “Yeah, Mom and Dad,” but “Yeah, God!” Not every child is destined to always finish number one in his class or to be a preacher. But every child can be destined to have a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ! So Mom and Dad, point your kids in the right direction, love them unconditionally, and trust that God is in control.