I have been fielding some questions from my children lately, they seem to be a departure from the normal variety of, “was the world in color when you were born, or was it all in black and white?”. Instead of living in the moment and enjoying whimsical summer nights chasing fireflies, our two children have been asking questions about the likelihood of terrorists showing up in their bedroom at night or deranged shooters slipping into the movie theater.
There was certainly a time not so long ago, when I would explain away all of the questions and concerns of bad guys and boogeymen, gently reassuring my children that this is not going to happen here, that these problems are mostly in dark faraway places like Afghanistan and California (kidding…sort of).
Those explanations of “it’s all happening somewhere else far away” feel a little hollow now, even slightly dishonest. It seems like the times we are living in are different from those nostalgic days of the past, like the days of innocence and safety are slipping away at an incredible pace, that there is an encroaching darkness that is tangible and powerful. At some point I have had to face the music and ask myself, “what if everything falls apart?”. The questions that follow are just as daunting, are my children prepared for the pressures of a secular, anti-Christian society? How will a climate of intolerance to Jesus followers affect the church, education, even my finances?
It is important to say that I am not resigned to the reality of evil slipping in and overtaking the country I love and call home, we diligently work and pray, asking God to stem the tide of secularism and moral decline. However, history and our own Bible is full of examples detailing Gods response to nations that would not hear the warning sirens of His approaching hand of judgement and correction.
So again, what it does finally unravel and come apart at the seams? What if we become the despised and marginalized minority? What if the echoes of persecution find our own quiet communities and streets? If that in fact becomes the reality, then I believe that God has a message for those He has chosen as His beloved children.
1. There is not a minute, not a second, not even a fleeting moment that God is not in complete control and intimately aware of your circumstance.
It was only a couple of years ago that I stumbled upon a powerful promise written by the greatest of the Hebrew kings, David. David was no stranger to persecution, danger, and the ever encroaching shadows of wickedness. It is quite possible that He wrote these very words while peering out of the mouth of some remote cave during one of his many seasons of being a fugitive from jealous kings, countrymen, even family. The following words could not be read at a more appropriate time in our history, I have shared this verse with my children in their moments of fear, and even as much, have reassured my own heart with its timeless and eternal promises.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Psalm 121:1-4
2. Nothing can separate you from Gods overwhelming love
The great Hebrew scholar and writer of much of the new testament Paul, experienced as much in the way of persecution and pressure from the outside world as anyone in the history of the church. He shares a glimpse of what his journey as a follower of Jesus looked and felt like in his letter to the church in Corinth.
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.2 Corinthians 11: 23
However, From Paul’s own scared and worn hands, witnesses of immeasurable toil and hardship comes one of the most beautiful verses of scripture ever penned.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35
3. In the end, it is impossible for “everything” to fall apart
If Jesus is Lord of your life, then you are standing on a foundation that is eternal and unshakable. Jesus himself would reassure His followers that, “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” (Matthew 7:25) As the world begins to disintegrate and fracture at its seams, many of the earthly things I have put my trust in will begin to tarnish and fail. From money to my own strength, I have tended to lean on things that gave me the illusion of security, but I believe that there is a day coming when only one thing will truly stand the test that approaches. That one thing is the all-powerful and abiding creator and lover of my soul, Jesus Christ.
As the days grow darker, my conversations with my children will change to meet the seriousness and reality of the season. They are feeling the pressures of this new culture shift and I will to some degree help them understand the realities of it, however it is more important now than ever that they know that the Power that created the universe, and controls the very steps of man, is willing to live inside their hearts and will keep them until the day He calls them home.
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. Jude 1:24 (NLT)
Helping Kids Face Their Fears Author: Sherry Surratt http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/your-childs-emotions/childhood-fears/helping-kids-face-their-fears#