Let's walk our 5-year old to the bus stop. Sling an oversized backpack stuffed with school supplies on their little backs - throwing them completely off-balance. Put them on a giant vehicle with no seatbelts (let alone the Federal-approved, safety-tested carseat that has been a constant since the child was born!), driven by a complete stranger to a school with only 1 adult per 25 kids!
Yet every September, parents of kindergarteners gather at the bus stop with their cameras in one hand and the small fingers of their child in the other... waiting tearfully... and sometimes fearfully for the big, yellow bus to come around the corner. And every September, those cameras capture the brave 5-year olds who climb that first enormous step onto the school bus and turn around to flash a smile at the proud parents waiting at the curb.
The parents brains are swimming with
How in the world did my baby grow up so fast?!
What if they can't find their classroom?
What if they are scared?
What if the teacher won't let them go to the bathroom?
What if they cry all day long?
What if a kid picks on them?
What if they pick on someone else?
We're proud to see our smallest kids start that long journey of "SCHOOL" - yet fearful because this is a journey that we, ourselves, have traveled. We know what lays ahead on this road... the fun times, the hard times, the studying, the games, the tests (both academic and social), the angst, and the joy. We've seen and done it all. Some of us wouldn't go back and repeat school life even if we were paid a million dollars... yet we still have to send what is most precious to us - our children - through this journey because we know how important it is and that it is a necessary step in their life.
Did you ever wonder if this is the way God feels when a new baby is born?
Everyone one of us is a precious child of God - loved by Him before we were ever born:
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother's womb.
I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I'd even lived one day.
Psalm 139:13-16 (The Message)
God has marvelous plans for each of His children - but He also know how hard it can be on Earth - He lived it through His own son, Jesus. Yet God still places His children here to go through the journey of life... knowing that sin will tempt them, that tragedy might strike them, that hardships will try them. But knowing all along that the amazing experiences each child will have on Earth will be worth the trip.
So when you make that long walk to the bus stop and give up your child to the journey of school, remember that God is with you AND with your son or daughter. He is walking alongside you both, holding your hands, guiding you, and loving you. Just like always.