Being a father has been great for my prayer life. I don’t think there has been a time when holding Owen that I haven’t said some sort of prayer for him. One reoccurring prayer is that my son will some day have a close relationship with God. I want Owen to enjoy God in his life. I want my son to feel the security of salvation, the comfort of God’s presence and the joy of His blessings. These past four weeks have been wonderful reminders of God’s grace and sovereignty, but oh how soon I forget. Like the Hebrews in the desert I have already forgotten God’s miracles and grew fixated on a new fear. It happens too often. Life happens, or in this case a news headline came along and challenged my thinking.
Teens Kill for Fun
The story of Christopher Lane’s murder in Oklahoma stunned me. Three teenagers picked Lane at random and shot him for the fun of it. Apparently they were bored. So bored they thought it fun to kill someone. In case you are not familiar with the story you can read it here. After reading the article I closed my laptop and thought, what world did bring my son into? Fear replaced faith. I was tempted to search Google for the safest places to raise a family. The thought of my son living in such a wicked world troubled me, and my initial response was to shelter him. Thankfully it didn’t take God long to grab my attention. I was angry and disgusted. Now I am embarrassed at my cowardice.
During my quiet time God asked me, What if David never fought Goliath? What if the Hebrews gave in to the Egyptian army? What if Daniel never stood up against King Darius’ laws? What if Jonah had never agreed to go to Nineveh? God didn’t call these men to avoid the wickedness that faced them, but to confront it. Their trials, perils and convictions drew them closer to God.
What does that mean for me and my son? God is well aware of the world’s condition. The severity of the surrounding dangers and influencing sin will never change God’s calling to his children. We are to be a part of this world not avoid it. It’s a scary command. My paternal instincts clash with the thought of raising my son in a society where its members walk the same streets as bored thugs. God knows this. He programmed our protective instincts for a purpose, but he also calls us to not live in fear. We can live without fear because of His promises.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Here is the most appropriate verse in regards to my fear.
1 Chronicles 28:20
David also said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the LORD is finished.
God has already answered my prayers for Owen. He wants a relationship with my son more badly than I. The world as we know it is a proving ground filled with trials, tests and perils for us to grow closer and more dependent on our Father. It is a field to engage not abandon. Sin is the background that contrasts God’s holiness and strength. If we run from it we can never truly do God’s work and as a result never grow like He intended. I must be wise and protect my son, but I should not live in fear.
I couldn’t help it, but to close I will end with a quote from the Lord of the Rings that kept popping in my head.
King Theoden: What can man do against such reckless hate?
Aragorn: Ride out and meet it!