How God’s Plans Succeed Even When Our Children Fail


Possibly my most embarrassing moment as a parent happened during my son’s senior year in high school. A late spring phone call from his English teacher alerted me his grades were inadequate to graduate on time.

The smartest person in our family was failing his senior year of high school because of the dumbest thing: he refused to complete his in-class English assignments.

Ironically, when he was in sixth grade, my son’s reading comprehension was at a twelfth-grade level, and he wanted to pursue an English major in college.

Facing the fact I had a child who might not graduate from high school was humiliating and unbelievable. Shock waves rippled through our extended family. I sent no graduation announcements, unsure we would attend.

When confronted with the issue, he offered no explanation or excuse; he simply shrugged. It was apparent I was more concerned than he was.

Since I enjoyed school and making good grades, it was difficult for me to understand his motives and choices. I often wondered what his thoughts were concerning his future. He always told me not to worry about it, but I did.

Throughout the long days of uncertainty, the scripture cited during his baby dedication (and one I frequently pray) kept returning to me:

“ For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV)

God sent this message to the Israelites while they were captives in a foreign land. He encouraged them to settle down and to get comfortable because it was going to be many years before they would return home. Knowing that God knew them, had a plan for them, and had promised a future full of hope must have comforted them in their uncertain circumstance, especially since their rescue wasn’t imminent.

The Hebrew word for hope is “tiqvah” which literally means cord. Its root is “qavah” meaning bind together, wait for, or wait upon.

Like the Israelites, when we are in uncertain situations, if we bind ourselves to God’s promises, then we can trust Him for the things we long for. Though it may not happen as quickly as we would like, God can be trusted to fulfill His plan for us, give us what we hope for, and give us security in our waiting because we have tethered ourselves to Him.

When we allow ourselves to believe in the plan of God, we will always be filled with the hope of God.

Eventually, my son graduated on time and was bold enough to tell me, “See, I told you I would graduate!”

Smart + Lazy + Arrogant = My Son Should Have Been Sent to Summer School!

Although this was not the worst trial I endured with my son, it was a big one. The impact of his apathy was greater than he could understand. He appeared oblivious to the consequences of his actions while my husband and I considered the options for his future.

At the time, there wasn’t anything funny about it, but I can now laugh about the ordeal seeing how God worked out His plan in favor of my son’s future. Following years of failure, he finally sees the value of education and the folly of his choices in high school.

When our plans and our people are failing, our Rescuer throws out a lifeline of hope to lead us into our future filled with good things like His love, mercy, and grace.  Because of His kind heart, God binds Himself to us and will never let us go; He will deliver what we long for.

As long as we stay close to Him, we have no need to fear what is ahead. The cord binding us together with Him is strong; it yokes us to Him and the future He has planned for us.

Only when we attempt to stray from Him will we face an uncertain future. The tie that binds will no longer serve its purpose of carrying us along the path of His promises-it becomes a snare that keeps us from His life-giving plan of hope and a good future.

While we wait, let’s take God at His Word and bind ourselves to His promises- His plan to prosper us and not harm us, His plan to give us what we long for after many uncertain days spent with our prodigals.
Let’s settle down where He has placed us and believe there is hope for a bright future, even if it’s years away.

Waiting with you!

This article originally appeared here, published with permission. 

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Susan Crews
A lover of grace because of Jesus, wife, mother, optometrist, and "waiter," Susan writes to encourage hopeful living while waiting for prodigals. You are invited to join her in her waiting room at or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.