Not Exempt.

He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:45

I blinked, glanced up at the sky with one palm turned up. What? Is it raining on me?

Exempt: released from, or not subject to, an obligation or liability that others may not be subject to.

I’ve never expected the Lord to spare me from trouble. In fact, scripture promises that I will suffer for His name’s sake. But somewhere along the way I took the concept of exemption and applied it to parenting.

I imagine it happened over twenty-two years ago after I cradled my first born in my arms. Not Exempt-2-picmonkey I mean, he was all mine, wasn’t He? God gave the kid to me and my husband. The little one was conceived in my womb. Not Exempt-5-picmonkeyEven born a week early. I figured it was so he could meet the excited young woman who’d been singing children’s Bible songs to him in preparation for his arrival. Or maybe get a head-start on absorbing all things Biblical. Even give aforethought to what country he’d like to serve as a missionary.

And since I’d committed to teaching him diligently all about God and His word – with the bona fide guarantee of a good outcome via home education – somehow I’d come to believe this would exempt me from dealing with a child who (gasp) had a different spiritual perspective than me.

The unfounded belief must have seeped into my mind and darkened my heart during those drawn out evenings in the rocking chair, Not Exempt-picmonkeyboth mother and child serenaded repeatedly by the cassette tape recording of Michael Card’s Sleep Sound in Jesus.*

I never expected the fully functioning brain God had graciously formed inside my baby’s little skull would ever doubt the holy word of God and walk differentlyNot Exempt-4-picmonkey than the principles taught there. Humph. I’d chosen to be exempt from that. Waywardness was not an option.

A friend with several children recently grieved the loss of what had always been stellar health in one of her sons. But he’s now suffering from an autoimmune disease. Here was a youth who’d not touched a cigarette or consumed alcohol a day in his life and unashamedly loved the Lord, now in need of a liver transplant. Angry? Yes, she is. A fist-clenched-to-the-heavens kind of angry.

“Lord, please don’t ask me to give up my child.”

But I AM NOT EXEMPT.Not Exempt-5-picmonkey

Not from hardship or suffering or disappointment or heartache just because I’ve invested much effort to follow the will of God.

I will have mercy on whom I have mercy and compassion on whom I have compassion Genesis 33:19, Romans 9:15. 

God owes me nothing. He’s given me everything. While I was still a powerless sinner, Christ plainly demonstrated His love and died for me, the ungodly (Romans 5:6, 8).

I’m exempt from eternal damnation, not hardship.

And the idea of exemption really has nothing to do with parenting, but about the presumptuous attitude before a holy God that ‘I don’t hafta suffer if I don’t wanna suffer’.

Au contraire!

He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. Matthew 5:45

I’ll just have to keep an umbrella handy. Because it might rain on my head today. Even though I had my quiet time and served my family and witnessed to that homeless guy and have already completed my Christmas thank-you notes and…

*Michael Card, Sleep Sound in Jesus,




  1. meomurian says:

    Great lesson! It helps me to remember that our heavenly Father, sho is beyond perfect as a parent, still has wayward children. I am praying that He uses your wayward one to reach many for the kingdom some day with his testimony. Love you.

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