The Unexpected Parenting Comfort of Ecclesiastes

When the world calls everything unprecedented, God’s provision remains unchanging.

At a recent parenting forum on children and technology at my church, I offered a discreetly told example of failure from my years of parenting teenagers. Even in the retelling, I could feel the knot of panic in my stomach the same as when the events were playing out in real time.

Nothing stirs fear in us quite like when our responsibilities as parents intersect with the tough realities of our world. And parents today face their share of legitimate fears.

Between social media, shifting sexual ethics, sex abuse scandals, pandemics, pornography, and all of the usual challenges of raising kids, the consensus is clear: Parenting today is hard. Christian parents are afraid, perhaps more than I’ve seen in my 25 years in ministry.

We want to protect children from temptation and negative influence, but the task feels insurmountable. We can feel powerless, asked to sail through uncharted waters with monsters left and right. But in the middle of my parenting fears, the Lord brought to mind timeless help to serve as a compass: He reminded me about what does not change.

Did my children face unprecedented challenges with technology and social pressures? In one sense, yes. But on closer observation, these were old challenges with new wrappings. The Book of Ecclesiastes goes to great lengths to drive home the point that there is nothing new under the sun.

I had always regarded this message to be a bit of a downer, but in tumultuous times, it emerged as the stabilizing force I needed. These challenges were not unprecedented. These waters were not uncharted. The eternal God looks down on this generation and sees no new problems. Not only that, he stands ready, as he always does, to be faithful to this generation and all generations.

Were …

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