What do you tell your children when the world around them is freaking out? How do you tell them that they can't play outside because there is a madman who shot a police officer on the loose? How do you let them know that it will be okay when helicopters are circling over head, state police cars are whizzing by, and swat teams are on their way? How do you quiet your own heart in the midst of the chaos and the heartache of a broken world?
The answer is so very simple and yet profound. Point them to the God of the universe. Remind yourself and remind them that He is so much more powerful than the evil in this world. He knows where the madman is hiding even when we don't. Remind them, remind yourself, of all that He has done.
Tell them about God who lead Gideon into battle with very few men and a lot of strategic noise. God, who parted the Red Sea for the Israelites and caused it to swallow up their enemies. God who trained David in the fields so that he could defeat giant Goliath with some stones and a sling shot. God, who raised Christ from the dead and conquered sin and death for all time. Surely the madman in the woods is nothing for this God of ours!
Don't forget to teach them to pray. Prayer is one of our most powerful weapons. It reaches through walls, across roads, into the woods and beyond. Tell them that if we pray for the madman, the police officers, and our community God will use these prayers to execute justice, provide protection, and transform hearts. Our hearts will be transformed...
Prayer will provide us with God's eyes to see clearly. What we see will likely break our hearts but it will also change us. Instead of a madman, we will see a lost soul in need of a Savior. We will recognize him as someone's son and someone's brother. Our fears will subside and we will get a glimpse of the burden of what it must be to be this young man's parents. Parents waiting in disbelief. Parents waiting in fear and anguish knowing that every officer available is out there gunning for their son.
As we continue to teach our children to pray though this we will likely be praying for the officers out there searching for this young man. This may bring up further questions and concerns about the officers getting hurt or killed in the process. Perhaps this is a good time to remind ourselves and the kids that when we walk with God we never walk alone. If He allows pain, injury, or death to touch us He will help us through. He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. So we can pray for the officers that God will never leave their side and will surely see them through. As we pray we will surely be reminded of the officer who was buried today and once again our hearts will break as we consider is wife and two children. Again, may our prayers be transformative as we ask God to hold them in the palm of His hand, and answer the deep down gut wrenching question of why that will surely surface in time to come.
This has been our struggle this week. What do you do in the face of circumstances that you never thought you would face? As the week has worn on I have come to this conclusion: If I choose to live in fear then I am saying that my God is small and His power is limited. This is not what I want to teach my children. If I choose to take my natural fears to God in prayer then I am taking steps of faith. Faith says my God is big and His power is limitless. Given the current events at home in the United States and in the world, I think that pointing my girls to our all powerful God in prayer is the best way to equip them for the challenges that will likely face their generation.