Lately, I have been pondering what it means to truly dedicate my children to the Lord. And then, this morning I read this excellent post by Jen Hatmaker about raising brave children.
She asserts, “Our job is not to shield them from everything hard, but to parent them through it with wisdom and discernment. We should not pull our kids completely out of this culture in some parallel Christian universe, but teach them to navigate the real world with grace and conviction. . . . I don’t want my kids safe and comfortable. I want them BRAVE.”
At the end of her article, she includes this story from Erwin McManus —
One summer Aaron went to a youth camp. He was just a little guy, and I was kind of glad because it was a church camp. I figured he wasn’t going to hear all those ghost stories, because ghost stories can really cause a kid to have nightmares. But unfortunately, since it was a Christian camp and they didn’t tell ghost stories, because we don’t believe in ghosts, they told demon and Satan stories instead. And so when Aaron got home, he was terrified.
“Dad, don’t turn off the light!” he said before going to bed. “No, Daddy, could you stay here with me? Daddy, I’m afraid. They told all these stories about demons.”
And I wanted to say, “They’re not real.”
He goes, “Daddy, Daddy, would you pray for me that I would be safe?”
I could feel it. I could feel warm-blanket Christianity beginning to wrap around him, a life of safety, safety, safety.
I said, “Aaron, I will not pray for you to be safe. I will pray that God will make you dangerous, so dangerous that demons will flee when you enter the room.”
And he goes, “All right. But pray I would be really, really dangerous, Daddy.”
That story reminded me of the The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Before Lucy meets Aslan, she asks Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, “Is he a man?”
“Aslan a man!” said Mr. Beaver sternly. “Certainly not! . . . Aslan is a lion, the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh,” said Susan, “I thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.” . . .
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver . . . “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”
Our God is not safe. Just as C.S. Lewis’ Aslan isn’t a tame lion, our God isn’t a tame God. But He’s good. And dedicating our children to God, wholly committing our children to Him, doesn’t always feel safe. But we can be brave as parents, so our children will be brave followers of God. So our children will learn to abandon the facade of security and safety, provided by the world or by our own making, and wildly, bravely, boldly pursue our good God.