Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. (Psalm 146:3)
Eight children have matured under my parental eye. Particularly memorable are the adorable early years of life; the cuteness; the stumbling; the efforts to mimic grown-ups. Then come the miserable middle school and high school years. What changed?
I may never qualify as an expert in raising children, but I certainly stake a claim to being experienced. Experience has shown me that the middle school/high school years can be full of deception – and not all intentional. Sometimes, children make extraordinarily mature decisions about challenging issues. Then, just about the time a parent drops their guard – convinced they have successfully “raised the child in the way he (or she) should go” (Proverbs 22:6) – the other shoe drops. Children usually make a galactically immature decision.
Under inquisition, teens refine the phrase, “I don’t know,” to explain their indiscretion. My quest to raise perfection was shattered on the rocky shores of the tumultuous sea of life. My focus on performance revealed a flaw in my parenting strategy. A changed heart is the secret to substantive change and genuine maturity. We learn that lesson from the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15).
The same applies in the matter of trust in princes who cannot save. Like teenagers, princes do many fine-looking things, and say many pleasing things, but given enough time, they are going to fail – not because they are princes, but because they are human. They will fail not just because they have spiritually wandered, but because they can’t help it (Romans 7:15).