“Tank tou.” If you think this quote could be from a two-year-old, you are right.
Recently our grandson got into trouble for continuing to run away when his mommy told him to stop. When he had endured all he wanted to endure of the scolding, he said, “Tank tou,” as if his thank you would end the reprimand. Of course, as the typical adoring Nana I thought it was quite clever and got a chuckle out of it. But the tank tou did not contain a promise to never run away again.
This story brought to my memory the day his mommy was driving herself to school for the first time. I stood on the porch watching her for as long as she was in sight, frantically praying that God would keep her safe, since I could not be with her. He said to me, “You are not the one who has been keeping her safe all this time.” I am sure I said, “Thank You,” but not to end a scolding, but in true gratitude for the reminder and for His safety.
What does this have to do with parenting a prodigal? When we cannot be with them, we can trust that God knows right where they are and is right there with them. He is, after all, Jehovah Shammah, The Lord Is There. He is omnipresent God, and He loves them. In fact, He loves them so much that He placed them with a parent who would love them enough to think of and pray for their safety and pray for them when they stray.
Even though I thanked the Lord for the reminder that day standing on the porch watching a disappearing blue SUV, there are times I might as well have said “Tank Tou,” since there was no promise to never panic again. And panic I have. God’s reminder is sometimes forgotten as I still, fourteen years later, frantically ask God to protect my children when all that is usually required is a simple prayer and a trust in the One who loves them more than I do.