My nearly four year old daughter asked me, before I left her with all the fuzzy animals and one dim night-light, to ask God to be with her. “Of course, I will ask God to be with you. He is always with you. No matter what happens.”
What truth are we teaching our children? That God loves them? That God wants them? That God will always be near? What truths are we sharing with them that will sustain them when life falls apart? Because, contrary to popular middle class American standards, shit will hit the fan at one point or another.
After I tuck the children in bed, I stand in the stairwell of our cape-cod -the little landing at the top of the steps between the two small bedrooms- and I lift my palms and pray in silently sincerity: May the Lord bless you and keep you. May he make his face shine upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26) My constant prayer is for mercy & peace to be evident in their earthly lives- because that is the evidence that there is a God and that he is with them.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what other people believe. People are going to do what they’re going to do. Evil is always going to be around. Unsafe people are always going to crop up. Shit will hit the fan one way or another. But at the end of the day, what really matters, is that we – individual hearts- have each sensed the presence of the Almighty God and we believe HIM to be who he says he is. He is with all those who believe, He is a covenant keeper. Come hell or high water, that is the one truth that sustains.
“So I was faced, for the first time in my personal experience, with that awful why. Like Job, I didn’t doubt for a second that God was up there, that God knew what He was doing. But I couldn’t imagine what He could possibly have in mind. And God’s answer to my why was ‘Trust Me.’ No explanations. Just, trust Me. That was the message.
Now if I had had a faith that was determined God had to give me a particular kind of answer to my particular prayers, that faith would have disintegrated. But my faith had to be founded on the character of God Himself. And so what looked like a contradiction in terms: God loves me; God lets this awful thing happen to me. What looked like a contradiction in terms, I had to leave in God’s hands and say okay, Lord. I don’t understand it. I don’t like it. But I only had two choices. He is either God or He’s not. I am either held in the Everlasting Arms or I’m at the mercy of chance and I have to trust Him or deny Him. Is there any middle ground? I don’t think so.” -Suffering Is Never For Nothing, Elisabeth ElliotIn the hands of the potter,