It's one of those "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" (Phil. 2:12) kind of things for a family of believers. I think that many people, myself included (before I started schooling my kids at home), assume that those crazy people just want to shelter their children from the world and keep them "safe"!! Nope. Well, nope for many of us anyway. It's kind of a bonus many days that their little innocence is still a bit in tact, but it isn't the reason that we home school...not by a long shot. We would be in total denial, our heads stuck in the sand, if we believed by keeping them home that we were keeping evil out.
In fact the Book that we read together every morning that sort of starts out pretty grand: God creating the whole world and everything in it perfectly, only to end up in chapter 4 with this question from God, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground." (Genesis 4: 10) Yup, we're just four chapters into the whole thing and it was two chapters ago when it all fell apart... when sin and by sin death enters the beauty of God's perfect creation and now? Now we have murder. Cain murdered: His. Own. Brother. His very own, flesh in blood brother.
So no, we do not hide our children from the truth because it's the one thing that can set them free (John 8:32). We want them to know....to KNOW that this world is full of lying, cheating, stealing, murderous, crooks and but for the Lord Jesus, that babe in the manger, we could and very well would be one of them! Point them to Jesus, that is what we want to do.
And so when, Monday morning, before we turned to God in prayer for our day, I told my older two what happened in Connecticut, just as we have talked about David stealing a wife not his own and killing off her husband methodically. Just as we have talked about Moses killing an Egyptian man in anger. And yes, how Cain killed Abel. And the many other stories that fill our daily lives through the Word that doesn't pretty things up to hide sin, and Yahoo! and World Magazine etc. Stories that we hear from dear loved ones, and missionary friends, and magazines, books and even our own family. Stories of suffering, grief, and despair. Stories that break your heart. Stories that make you cry out, "Where are you God?" "God! Aren't you Good???!!!" Yes, those stories they know about those too... at least some of them.
The reality is that evil can walk right through the front door of your happy home, your church, and yes, your school. Right through the middle of a content community upending their lives and the lives of a country no matter where your kids go or do not go to learn. And while I don't wait around and try not to worry about that happening, it is a reality is it not?
Evil is not immune to a certain set of people groups. The havoc that it reeks can be seen splashed daily across newspaper and magazines, on-line and in the eyes of broken mothers over the broken bodies of their babies. Evil stretches it's ugly, despicable hand from the east to the west and leaves no stone in no country unturned. It has been around since the beginning when Lucifer decided that he deserved and wanted the glory that ALONE belongs to God and fell from his position (Ezekiel 28 starting in vs 11).
And before us, this is what we see. Maybe it's not every. single. day. like some....like many. Maybe it's just poured out the airways via the Internet and television as it slaps us across the face, awakes us from this sleepy slumber of comfort and ease and causes us to wake to the reality of it all and ask those hard questions. And perhaps it is even in the questions where we are getting it wrong and maybe, just maybe we should be asking a different question. Not about how good this God is or where exactly is he, rather we need to ask: WHO is this God? WHO is He????
The answer? He comes to us in a gift that was given to us over 2,000 years. This gift?
It is one that breeds freedom.
A freedom from the bondage of sin and evil that lies within our own hearts now and freedom from every pain and suffering in the future (Revelation 21:4). A freedom that is not tied to the nation and the freedom that exists within it's borders...those borders that we so comfortably live in or the hue that colors your skin or the money in your bank account. This freedom is found in a Person....a king on high laid in a manger. This freedom, it was willingly given for all people who didn't deserve it and could never earn it. This freedom is real and it will last forever!
And this gift, the one that breeds freedom, gives us hope and peace and yes, joy even amidst terrible happenings because then and only then can we know that God is working in all of it to bring himself glory and goodness to the ones that call his Son Lord (Romans 8:28)!
Jesus. Immanuel. God with us. That is what the angel Gabriel told Mary to name her babe. God with us. Not, God so high above us that he is out of touch or out of reach. Not, an impersonal God. No, God with us. If ever there was a man who walked this dusty ball we call earth that knew suffering, it was Jesus. He knows it. He lived through it. There is nothing, NO nothing that you will ever face that he has not tasted himself first. He is the suffering servant and He knows you. And he came. Yes, he came the king baby born and laid in a manger where the animals are fed.
He is and always will be the answer, my dear friends.
781. Freedom, true freedom found only in Christ
782. helping carry a burden for a nation with prayer
783. children playing wagon train...again...love these mornings together
784. the gift of family
785. hand made gifts by a special nephew, hanging in a few windows...lovely
786. boys, boys, boys
787. an unexpected text from a friend far away...made my heart smile
Linking up with Ann here today.
**Just as a side note, friends, the Compassion bloggers are trying to raise $2,000 and have only, so far raised just over $500 for kids and families in Jesus' name. I will be blogging later this week a little more about that, but wanted to ask if you would consider giving through the Compassion Catalog. Gifts range from $4.00 to $500 and everywhere in between. No, pressure, no obligation... I promise. Just your prayerful consideration of giving a good gift this year? Gather the kids around the computer this week and let them pick out something...this they will love.**