Fra Angelico a fresco from the 1400's
"I don't know why God allowed this to happen to me!" I hear this so often from so many.
I, too, have questioned God and life on many occasions. And yet, he has suffered my fist shaking at Him well, because I believe, that such a Holy God who is so far above me, understands that I am a mere toddler and have, at times, so little understanding of the reality of this world.
The voices of our world often promise an easy fix, a happy ending, that in this life a person can have it all.
Yet, as we observe the landscape of many who have "had it all" in this world, fame, money, power, prestige, and yet in the pursuit of glory in this world, they became so full of despair in finding that this world does not satisfy, they have taken their lives.
I recently read an article somewhere on the web, where a man who was a drug addict said, "Drugs are not my problem. I go to drugs because I feel such despair in this world."
Imagine with me, if you will, a family in Europe in the beginning of World War II. What if they had read newspaper accounts of Hitler invading Poland or another country, heard that he was coming into their land next, had been warned by the local police, and yet denied that there was a war beginning to rage. What if they went on as normal, did not prepare their children, did not seek to find a place of refuge. Then imagine if their town was bombed, their house destroyed, and some of their loved ones in their community were killed. Because of their refusal to see the reality of the battle raging, their horror and disappointment would be more pronounced.
Similarly, we must recognize that we are in a battle in our generation--a battle between 2 kingdoms--the world where Satan is called the ruler and our Lord who is redeeming this world and taking us to His kingdom forever.
Recognizing that this is the "fallen place," is one of the most important pieces of wisdom to arm us to handle what the world will bring to our lives. And, we must also arm our children as warriors--to learn their foundations, to understand their defense, to know they will never be alone--but God will always be with them every minute to answer, to give wisdom.
Yet, we must also recognize that we have greater potential to become stronger, more able to cope with the difficulties, more organized for life, more able to endure--because God is us has created us with a great capacity to overcome, to succeed.
Perhaps the battles that are most difficult are against our own weak character--but practice and perseverance helps with this. Practicing strength training one day at a time.
Or the illness, death or catastrophe that life can bring our ways. Or the unloving rejection of others. God is with you--He will help you through. Cultivate love with one or two that can understand. Talking with someone who truly relates to your pain but will help you walk through it, is a pursuit for finding in a friend.
Or maybe just the mundane, relentlessness of chores, duties, work and loneliness--learn to light a candle in the darkness. Create beauty, pleasure, joy in your realm.
Regardless the battle, we must arm ourselves to be strong in the battle so that we do not become victims in defeat.
Our children must learn to own their lives--to take responsibility for their faith--to have as a goal to be faithful to God no matter what happens--to live valiantly through many temptations and end courageously strong in the end.
And, they must learn this from our own courage. Our own choice to believe God through the storms life brings and through the love we choose to give in spite of injustice and pain from the hands of others.
But, our courage will come from the hope that is real in our hearts.
No matter what our status in this world, we are royalty in the next.
No matter what grief or injustice comes our way now, God has taken account of every tear and has promised that in the Kingdom of God we shall be comforted.
Jesus said, "My Kingdom is not of this world."
It was in this world that He was crucified, rejected, spit upon, beaten, and had countless profanities hurled at Him.
He who created the light of the dawn, the smell of roses, the swirl of dark clouds, suffered the worst at the hands of the very men He created.
My talented husband, Clay, is a songwriter. One of his songs is called "Rusted Nails." A verse from it says,
"They drove the nails through to the wood,
How could they understand, that He who made the universe, had made the nails that pierced His hands."
And yet, He is coming again--to bring us to His banquet, to have us in His kingdom forever more.
It is as we accept these realities, these battle lines, the future that is sure, that we will be able to live more courageously, more valiantly today. We are in a battlefield for allegiance to our God, a fight for righteousness, and we are the ones God has chosen to be His warriors. But we know who will win in the end. And this is our confidence.
Preparing your children to be warriors in their world, for the glory of God: