Just about every parent has had the challenge of dealing with a rebellious teenager. The teenage years become a testing ground. When a young woman starts to develop her own personality and her own worldview, sometimes it leads to conflict with her parent’s values. Maybe you remember a conversation with one of your children when they were starting to challenge your authority. How did you handle that challenge of authority? Did you put your foot down and insist to be obeyed without explanation? Did you patiently, graciously explain why the family rules exist? There’s no textbook answer on how to deal with a rebellious teenager. Since every teenager is different, every parent should approach this situation differently.
Sometimes a teenager’s testing ground can become a battleground between dads and daughters. This is the point where a daughter digs in her heels and refuses to honor her father’s authority. Even after he’s explained the rules and why they exist, she still refuses to follow them. I’m not saying this only happens to dads, most mothers know what it feels like for a daughter to become distant or difficult to deal with.
Sometimes this rebellious teenage phase can make the family stronger. It can cause a parent to examine the rules. It can make parents ask why this is a family rule in the first place. Sometimes, parents can learn a thing or two from their rebellious teenagers, if they’re willing to listen to the heart of the teenager.
Rebellious teenage daughter or mother of a savior?
There is a story of a rebellious teenage daughter in the Bible. Well, I’m not sure if this girl was a teenager or not. It’s possible that she was a grown woman by the time that this event takes place in Exodus 2:5-6. I like to think of her as a rebellious teenage daughter, just looking to go against her father’s wishes, but perhaps that’s not the whole story.
This young woman in Exodus is the daughter of the king. There is no chance she did not understand her father’s command to throw all Hebrew boy children into the Nile River in Exodus 1:22. Because this command not only came from her father but from the Pharaoh of Egypt, she was obligated by her own life to follow his orders. When this young woman – whose name we never learn – decides to take a Hebrew baby boy into her house she is putting her life on the line.
Honor God by disobeying dad
This princess of Egypt has impressive courage. She’s not only willing to save this Hebrew boy, she’s willing to raise this Hebrew boy as her own child. Can you imagine the remarks this woman heard while she was walking around with this Hebrew baby boy? Can you imagine how this event changed her relationship with her father?
If this woman had honored her father’s wishes, there would be no Moses. If this princess had obeyed her father’s command, history would have lost one of its greatest leaders, before the baby was even a few months old.
I’m sure she had no idea at the time that by disobeying her father, she was honoring God. God used a rebellious teenage daughter to preserve the life of one of his great servants. God blessed this rebellious teenage daughter’s courage, and Moses became one of the greatest leaders in the Bible. The words had not been written yet when she picked the baby out of the water, but this Egyptian princess was demonstrating that no human wisdom can stand against God’s plan (Proverbs 21:30).
See a need, meet the need
Where did the princess’ courage come from? She saw the basket in the water with a baby, and her heart melted for the child. When God moves people to action, he almost always starts with their heart. Many of us look away when we see someone else in need. Part of the reason we look away, is because we know if we’re not careful that need will take root deep in our heart, and we will be compelled by God to meet that need. This is what God did in the heart of this Egyptian princess. God still works like this in the heart of his people.
If you drive down the road this week and see a need that’s probably been there all along, and you’ve never really noticed before, it might be God starting to move your heart to meet a need. Perhaps that need you are seeing for the first time is actually the Holy Spirit starting to work in your heart. Maybe God wants you to be an agent through whom he will meet that need. Do you have the courage of this Egyptian princess? Are you willing to allow your heart to be captured by someone in need to the point that you are willing to do something about it? Who knows, you might be ministering to the next Moses like leader. You may be serving the next great leader in our society.