“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” I Corinthians 16:13 (NIV)
The world we live in is scary. Or it can be. Watch the news for a few days and there’ll be plenty to keep you up at night: Murders, kidnappings, terrorist threats, and possible natural disasters to name a few. For an overprotective parent on a sunny, cloudless, summer day, these scenarios are enough to make me draw the curtains, gather my children together to read some nonviolent books, and eat safe, kid-friendly comfort foods.
What kind of an example would I be setting for my kids if I actually carried through with that? I would be instilling a lifetime of fear. I need to equip them instead to go be part of the solution.
I’m reading a great devotional which spoke right to my heart titled In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s one I would highly recommend reading. The quote that comforted me is this: “God wants you to get where God wants you to go more than you want to get where God wants you to go….If you keep in step with the Spirit, God is going to make sure you get where He wants you to go. He is always working behind the scenes, engineering our circumstances and setting us up for success.”
Now, I hear you asking, What does that have to do with not being afraid…and what does it have to do with keeping my kids safe? Here’s my answer. If God is willing to protect and guide and lead me down the specific path He’s chosen for me, how much more is He willing to protect and guide and lead my children on the path He’s chosen for them? I don’t think His path (for me or my children) includes hiding behind closed curtains and surrounding ourselves with “safe” things. I think His path might include a few “risky” behaviors. However, because of the above statement, I can boldly start walking down a few of those paths God is leading me on (or allow my children to walk their own paths with or without me) knowing in faith He’s guiding our steps, working behind the scenes, and engineering our circumstances for His success. You see, as much I love my children (and I love them enough to sacrifice my life for them), I didn’t create them. God did. And so my love for them, when compared to His love for them, is miniscule. The question anymore isn’t Can I trust God with my children? Instead the statement is, They are His children on loan to me. Can He trust me to take care of them? and part of taking care of them is letting them go.
That thought, though it may lead to roads where I’m facing down a lion on a snowy day, is actually quite comforting. Knowing that God is in control and ultimately, the end result will be one that gives Him glory, reminds me to keep the curtains open and take my kids by the hand while we go out looking to see how we can be part of the solution instead of avoiding the situation, which would in turn contribute to the problem. By setting an example of faith, instead of fear, hopefully I’m modeling for the next generation how to take a stand, get involved, and make a positive difference.
There’s nothing wrong with cuddling together on the couch with a favorite book and yummy snack, but it tastes sweeter after we have completed the work God has chosen for us to perform.
Copyright 2013: Cheri Swalwell