Night Light For Parents

The Adversity Principle

After you have suffered a little while, [God] will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10

As strange as it seems, easy living and a stress-free existence can be disadvantageous for animals and for us humans. Think about the big male lion lying in a cage at the zoo. All his needs are met, and his hunting skills are useless. His muscles turn flabby, and he yawns his way through the day. Meanwhile, the lion that’s roaming free on the plains of Africa, stalking and competing for his next meal, remains fit and strong because of the challenges and dangers he faces.

Within limits, adversity is beneficial to you and your children, too. Troubles that require comforting leave you better able to comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:3–4). Physical suffering, when endured in the name of Christ, makes it easier for you to say no to sin (1 Peter 4:1). Hardships due to your faith lead to restoration and strength (1 Peter 5:9–10). Trials also produce perseverance, character, and hope (Romans 5:3). There are many other examples of this “adversity principle” at work in Scripture.

Human beings who have survived hard times are tougher, more resilient, and more compassionate than those who have never faced difficulty or pain. You might remember that the next time your family is battling adversity in the jungle of life.

Before you say good night…

Do you try, out of love, to sweep aside every hurdle and difficulty encountered by your children?

Do you fight their battles for them?

Are you helping or handicapping them by this assistance?

Lord, it is so difficult to watch our children struggle—and so tempting to fight their battles for them. Please grant us wisdom and restraint when You are using adversity to shape and strengthen our sons and daughters. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Parents, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bible Gateway

Night Light For Couples

Balloons and Children

“My time has not yet come.” John 2:4

I (jcd) once attended a wedding in a beautiful garden setting. After the minister told the groom to kiss the bride, about 150 colorful, helium‐filled balloons were released into the blue sky. Within a few seconds the balloons were scattered, some rising hundreds of feet overhead and others cruising toward the horizon. A few balloons struggled to clear the upper branches of the trees, while the showoffs became mere pinpoints of color in the sky.

Like balloons, some boys and girls are born with more helium than others. They soar effortlessly to the heights, while others wobble dangerously close to the trees. Their frantic folks run along underneath, huffing and puffing to keep them airborne.

Are you a parent of a low‐flying child? Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of families whose children were struggling in one way or another. Based on what I’ve seen, let me pass along a word of encouragement to worried parents: Sometimes the child who has the most trouble getting off the ground eventually reaches the greatest height!

Just between us…

  • What kinds of balloons do our kids most resemble?
  • Do we tend to panic when our low‐fliers drift in the wrong direction?
  • Do we love them any less than those who soar?
  • How can we avoid prematurely judging how a child will turn out?
  • How can we pump more “helium” into our relationship with our low‐flier?

Heavenly Father, tonight we ask for wisdom and patience as we raise our children. We let go of our own requirements and timelines for their lives. We trust Your providence and grace. Every day, help us obey You in this great calling of being a parent. Amen.

  • From Night Light For Couples, by Dr. James & Shirley Dobson
    Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bible Gateway

Devotional Bible Gateway

Was the idea of Jesus’ virgin birth copied from pagan sources?

Matthew, a follower of Jesus, and Luke, who “carefully investigated everything” about Jesus, both reported that Jesus was born to a virgin. Indeed, the virgin birth was foretold hundreds of years in advance in Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

The evidence fails to support accusations that the virgin birth story was stolen from pagan religions. “Some of those [myths] that are often cited—like Zeus—are anthropomorphic gods who lust after human women, which is decidedly different from Jesus’ story,” historian Edwin Yamauchi explained to me.

“The mythological offspring are half gods and half men and their lives begin at conception, as opposed to Jesus, who is fully God and fully man and who is eternal but came into this world through the incarnation,” Yamauchi continued. “Also, the Gospels put Jesus in a historical context, unlike the mythological gods.”

Even theologically liberal professor Thomas Boslooper, who wrote a book about the virgin birth, scoffed at the suggestion that the claim was derived from pagan myths:

The literature . . . which produced this conclusion and which has become the authority for contemporary scholars who wish to perpetrate the notion that the virgin birth in the New Testament has a non-Christian source, is characterized by brief word, phrase, and sentence quotations that have been lifted out of context or incorrectly translated and used to support preconceived theories. Sweeping generalizations based on questionable evidence have become dogmatic conclusions that cannot be substantiated on the basis of careful investigation.

So allegations that Christianity stole its belief about the virgin birth from pagan sources fare no better than the disproven claims that Christianity copied Jesus’ resurrection from myths of dying and rising gods.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Matthew 1:22–23

Copyright © 2014 by Lee Strobel.