There was the true Light which, coming into the world,
enlightens every man.
Darkness has invaded our lives and constantly, on a daily basis, we hear of tragedy, another mass shooting, or of another moral failure of leaders and threats of financial demise. The thought of youth dying needlessly, is abhorrent to our value for life. We have also seen men and women of influence fall and compromise Biblical ideals, especially in Christian leadership. It would be easy for us to get caught up in despair or disappointment--to listen to the voices of doom and gloom and to allow them to determine the mood and focus of our lives.
God never intended that our eyes be focussed on people who are limited in strength or to listen to voices of humanity that are not infinite in wisdom. When our eyes are focussed on people, we are likely to become disappointed.
But, filling up with His light, restoring hope requires an intentional life. A person who is still godly and spilling out with His life and love through all the years of her life is not an accident. Intentionality and purposing to live well takes time and insight.
A focus on Jesus, the light of the world, brings hope, a pathway forward, strength to meet each day. He is not a false hope--a "I wish, I wish, I wish......." But He is the source of all truth, all wisdom, all mercy, and is the answer to all of our questions.
Jesus' kingdom is coming, surely, and will be one in which all wrongs will be righted and all hope for a just and good world will be restored as He renews and makes a new heaven and new earth.
My sweet Joy in a younger, more innocent time.
I knew my young children longed for a safe world, one in which they could dream and hope, so I protected their little minds until they were able to hold the darkness of the world, little by little, as their spiritual and mental muscles developed more each year. But we did prepare them for the temptations and battles of the world in our home before they ventured out on their own. We were their generals to train and prepare them for war--but only after they had buried their roots deeply in the strength and goodness of God.
What about our role as moms in such a fallen place. How do we live in the world with our children, but protect them from despair or fear at an early age?
We mamas are the ones who tenderly hold the hearts of our own children.
We need to be guardians of the flame of faith inside of them, until they are old enough to guard their hearts themselves.
In a world of media and video games and tv and movies and cell phones which can carry the images of all sorts of evil,
One of the best gifts we can give to our children is the gift of an innocent, protected heart.
Children are created to be innocent, to believe in mystery, to be good and pure of heart. It is why Jesus said about children, "Unless you become like a child, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven."
and on another occasion, of children, "Of such (children) belongs the kingdom of heaven."
The longer we can keep them in this place of storing up hope, belief in miracles and light and courage and redemption, the better. Parents are guardians, to protect our children of all that is evil or wicked, so that our children can grow to be strong.
Children must build their foundations of value, belief and morality on goodness and righteousness before they can be expected to fight against evil. They must be strong in vision of heart before they can know how to redeem a lost world.
When we give our children foundations of hero tales, faith, goodness, courage, sacrifice and hope as the foundation of their little souls, we feed their faith imagination, so to speak. This innocent giving helps them to think of themselves as those who will become heroes in their generation--
so that then they will have strength to become real heroes when they have grown into full fledged adults.
Consequently, when a tragedy occurs, we must, as the strong ones and the ones who are seasoned and mature, bear up the difficulty and tragedy inside our own hearts, prayers, walk with the Lord and in the comfort of other spiritually mature adults. We walk with our own choice of faith, to trust God amidst the darkness and focus on His true light, even when it appears obscured.
We must seek Him who is the light in the darkness and look more profoundly into scripture which reminds us that we, and our world, indeed needed a savior--and so, daily, we celebrate His coming with expectation. And we must always point to our savior with hope--He is with us, He is a redeemer, He is our hope and He has never, ever left us alone.
Children store up memories so very long and these memories feed their understanding of truth about the world. So, if they are raised on fear, insecurity, and despair, from observing their parents, then their foundation will be insecure, and they will fear the world and what it might hold for them.
But if children grow up watching their parents choose hope, cultivating faith that chooses to see His reality on a daily basis, parents who seek to bow their knee with worship and trust in God through all the moments of life, then they will have a pattern of how to face darkness when it invades their lives as adults.
I do not want to diminish the deep darkness we have observed in so many ways this year, but we are to be the seasoned soldiers and the ones who lead our children to slowly perceive themselves as righteous warriors who will confidently usher God's kingdom into this world with His help, His indwelling and His power. He has won the battle and the ultimate victory is ours--that is our hope, that is our reality, if we indeed know Him and His word.
May we, as His children, remember that He said, "I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:12
May God grant each of you the grace to live in His light today and to guard well the hearts of your children, as you live within the walls of your home with the beauty, goodness and light of our redeeming Lord.
Remember to enroll for our summer Bible study over at Good Morning Girls, where Angela Perritt and I will be speaking, sharing videos and Bible study lessons on You Are Loved. Enroll here or on the picture.
Buy You Are Loved: Here