Grandparents know the long game. Grandchildren don’t. Advanced planning by children often means, at most, the day after tomorrow. They respond to life happenings with dramatic reactions. Getting a “D” in seventh grade math is “the worst thing that has ever happened to them”. Being grounded for a whole month means “their world has come to a crashing halt”.
As a child I thought that when things went well, life was good, and when things went poorly, life was a disaster. As the years have passed, I am now quite aware that short term set-backs can become benefits in the long-term. That knowledge impacts how I pray for my grandchildren. They lack the life experiences that display how God can indeed “work all things together for good.” But I have seen it! I can pray with the long-term in mind.
At times, I pray the long game. Playing the long game means you know set-backs aren’t the last word. Praying the long game is similar. I know that some things take time to work out and I have learned to pray patiently.
Praying the long game means praying in faith when I see my grandchildren make choices that are wrong. Remembering some of the temptations I faced in my youth, I now ask God to strengthen my grandchildren to respond well, to learn from their mistakes, and to turn around when they are heading in the wrong direction.
Praying the long game means praying ahead: for future spouses, good careers, and wise decisions on the big issues. It also means I can pray “preventive defense.” Long before they face challenges (and I know they will come) I can pray for grace and strength for my grandchildren. I know God loves them even more than I do and he desires what is best for them. I can pray confidently that God will be there for my grandchildren through their stumblings and failures, and that they will receive the gift of knowing Christ better, experiencing his love more deeply, and growing in character and understanding.
I pray the long game: with confidence, repeatedly, and without anxiety!
And I enjoy it.
Marion Schleusener is the grandmother of five and lives in Lansing, Michigan.
Copyright © 2019 Grandly: The Strategic Grandparents Club.