“No father-no family-no faith. Winning and keeping men is essential to the community of faith and vital to the work of all mothers and the future salvation of our children.” (Lowe, 2003).
I recently ran across this statement in an article born out of statistics gathered in Switzerland in the 1990’s. It’s not the first time I’ve heard such a conclusion. Mom’s like me, who are raising kids without their fathers leading them to Christ, hear messages like this intended to emphasize the impact of fathers in their children’s lives, and we wonder, “What about us? What is the hope for mothers raising children against the odds? How do we press on in faith raising our kids? Shall we fear the frightening conclusion that without the vital role of a godly father in their lives their future salvation is hopeless and give up?”
By no means!
No doubt, we need Christ-like men who will do as Paul charged and act like men, being watchful, strong, motivated by love, standing firm in their faith (1 Corinthians 16;13-14). We need them in our homes and churches. Without them, women and children suffer. Our kids need Jesus-loving fathers, but their hope for salvation does not rest on their dad’s faith or lack of it. The Bible points moms raising kids against the odds to the God who defies the odds in the lives of women like Jochebed, Moses’ mom.
Jochebed’s faith saved Moses’ life (Hebrews 11:23, Exodus 2:2). When the authorities said Moses would be killed, she saw his worth and hid him. Moms, we may not have ideal situations to raise our kids in, but their lives are worth saving! Jochebed’s godly refusal to obey Pharaoh is an example of where our ultimate allegiance must lie. Yes, we will be obedient citizens. Yes, by God’s grace we will be Christ-honoring wives, even if our husbands don’t believe. But we won’t hand our kids over to destruction or enable those in authority to do evil. Moms, look at this Image-of-God Bearer entrusted to you and don’t surrender to the odds. Stand firm in your faith! Do what you can to expose your kids to people who display life-giving, Christ-like examples. And if you can do nothing more, hide them and put your hope in God! Resist evil and do good in their lives while you can.
When Jochebed could no longer hide Moses from the evil edict intended to drown him, she committed him to God’s sovereignty by placing him in a little ark on the river. We commit our children to the good sovereignty of God in circumstances that feel like a statistical death sentence against them by dedicating our kids to Christ. We do this by putting them in the church where others, especially godly men, can teach them about Jesus along side us. Single moms, moms married to unbelievers, we need our local church! Men in the local church, we need you! We need you to show our sons and daughters what it looks like when a man follows Jesus and leads others to follow him too. We need you to be like Paul to our Timothys.
Jochebed committed her son to God on the river, and God entrusted Moses to Jochebed when Pharaoh’s daughter paid her to nurse him. Moms, whatever time you have with your kids, is time God has given you to feed them the gospel and display your genuine faith. I remember a very difficult time when I was alone, in a small apartment with a newborn at my breast and a toddler at my heels. The odds were against them, but God had given them to me. So, I did what I could. I filled their ears with songs, scripture and prayers. Through the years my sons have seen my sinfulness and heard me frequently confess I’m a sinner who needs a savior and that savior is Christ. Has it done any good? According to the odds it hasn’t. According to the statistics neither of my sons will believe.
Moses’ upbringing was not statistically favorable either. Whatever age Moses was when his mother returned him to Pharaoh’s daughter, surely any statistics about Moses’ childhood would have destined him to be hopelessly lost to the Egyptian gods, wealth and power. But Jochebed’s hope for Moses wasn’t his favorable odds. If we start looking to the odds, we start setting up idols. God’s message to us in Jochebed’s story is this: Salvation for your kids is not by good circumstances or favorable odds. Salvation is a gift of our God’s miraculous grace. As Jochebed hoped in the God who rules rulers, guides rivers and gives beautiful children, we can hope in the God who placed children in our care.
Mothers, we need to put our hope in God, not the odds. And brothers, we need your servant-leadership to help us point our kids to Christ. Despite all that is against us let’s hear Jochebed’s witness and keep doing good, without fearing the frightening odds against us (1 Peter 3:6). If our children are ever going to trust and follow Christ it will be by the same grace that saved Moses, and us (Ephesians 2:8). We need to stand firm in our faith, even if our children’s fathers leave us in fearful circumstances. We need to plant ourselves and our kids in a local church. And we need to do what we can to feed our kids the gospel of Christ in our daily lives. The hope for our kids rests in the mercy of God, not our children’s fathers. Our hope is the promise that God is faithful to generations of those who love him (Deuteronomy 7:9). Our God is the God of Jochebed. He is Jesus who said, “With man it is impossible, but with God nothing will be impossible.” (Matthew 19:26).