For 18 years the routine is the same. Each night you make sure each child is asleep before turning out the lights and locking the door. You can rest easy only when you know that the family is safe.

Then that day comes when your oldest child leaves home. Perhaps to college as our oldest daughter did. Maybe to a hitch in the military. Or just across town to an apartment.

As much as you prepared for the day when it would happen, those first nights are the most difficult. Now when you lock the doors and turn out the lights, you no longer have the security of knowing where each child is. You no longer can rest quite as well—unless you trust God.

In Psalm 139, David provided some comforting words that can help all of us who have to say goodbye to our children as they go out on their own. We cannot escape God’s presence. He is with us, and with our children, wherever we go. As a dad whose daughter is 300 miles away at college, I’m encouraged that when God turns out the lights at night, He is checking on my daughter.

Psalm 33:13 says, “The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men.” That helps me rest easy—even when one of the children is out of the house.