Thursday, July 10, 2008
Guarding the Heart- Part 2
As we seek to guard the hearts of our children with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23) we may be questioned regarding this less traveled path.
WHAT OF THE BENEFITS OF TESTING?
One of the questions you are likely to hear is: "Should we simply throw our children to the world without testing them before they leave our homes?"
Our response would be: "Of course not."
But we need not worry about finding opportunities in which they can experience this testing- or think that by violating Philippians 4:8 we will be providing the testing that God desires.
I think we often confuse the idea of testing our children with indoctrinating them in the world. Rather than guard these precious hearts, we immerse them in the sophisticated social pressures and worldly ideals that movies and music are marketed to bring.
Is it really exposing them to the "real world" as they are spoon fed worldly philosophies to enticing music by perfect looking characters filmed in flattering lighting and living out pretended lives of sin with no real consequence?
Do plots of movies~ or books~ with main characters mocking each other, making a mock of sin, disobeying God's Word, parents or other authorities then pretending that it all pulls together happily in the end really give our children a picture of God's "real world?"
I would like to submit that this is not the real world at all. And does not prepare them for the truth of eternity.
Testing experiences will happen naturally as we live our lives. As we meet people in the store or as we go about our daily lives our children will experience testing. Our goal should not be to harden them to sin, but to teach them the righteous response.
Yes, there is a natural means in which God provides a testing ground as we simply live out Deuteronomy 6:4.
While on vacation, we experienced this type of God-ordained testing. On our return trip from the coast we stopped at an air show in Klamath Falls, Oregon.
It was a windy and dusty day. Tom had arranged with some local fire men for our family to set up our camp chairs in front of a fire truck so we could be sheilded from the wind and dust. After a little while, Tom took a few of the children to explore while I stayed back with the baby, our 6 year old and our 11 year old.
It was during this time that an older lady came up. She was the mother of one of the fire men. The moment she was in earshot she began complaining to her son. He should have picked her up at the gate. Her legs were tired from the walk. Why didn't he take the fire truck and come to get her? Her grown son apologized and explained he wasn't allowed to do that. He was required to stay just where he was.
As their discussion finished I offered her a seat to rest. We had the only chairs around.
She sat down and was quite talkative with our girls. She began to show our 6 year old daughter a glossy brochure with photos of the air show pilots in it. She showed her the women pilots and began explaining to her that "not only men" can fly planes for a living. She could too. She kept pressing her point, asking her if she understood. She wanted her to repeat after her that, "Not only men could fly airplanes, women can too."
"You could fly one of those airplanes when you grow up!" she said again. It was at this point that she looked up at me. Silence. Our oldest daughter sat with her jaw dropped open.
"Or" I interjected politely "She could choose the noble task of wife and mother." It was then that she rolled her eyes and the real discussion began.
She explained to me how the "real world" works. How God had never provided for her. How she had to do it all herself and how the Bible doesn't "work." As she went on and on I felt bad for her. I too had lived in the "real world" this entire time and I knew of God's gracious provision. She had taken the hard road- without Christ. Without a body of believers.
Oh, how I desired for her to know Him! I tried to interject. To tell her it was God who had provided for her all along, but she did not want to hear it.
She had repeated these falsehoods for so long~ how God's Word couldn't work, so she needed to take matters into her own hands~ that she had replaced the Truth with a lie.
The beauty of this test for our family was that God had ordained it.
Just the night before we had watched a Moody Science film about airplanes and the need for pilots to use their instruments.
Dr. Moon explained how a pilot trusting his instruments is like a believer trusting God's Word. And how many a pilot who would not, or had never learned to, trust his instruments in darkness or storm had received a fatal lesson.
As we discussed this interaction later with the girls we saw just how God had orchestrated it all. The girls understood that this woman had not been flying through life using the trustworthy Instrument God had provided. She had been flying by her own senses instead. They were more convinced than ever of the necessity of following God and His Word during the dark times.
We are warned in God's Word:
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Proverbs 16:25
As we were exposed to this challenge to our beliefs, it got me thinking~ God cares intimately that our children are prepared for the REAL world. The real world of life as adults in this world and the even more real world of eternity. He is at work preparing them even now. We need only trust what He has said.
May you be blessed as you lead little hearts home.
About the photo: Here is Hailey at 2 1/2 months~ with her typical surprised expression. I love it. Her sisters are also pictured~ at least their feet~ on the 4th of July just before we headed over to the cousin's house for swimming, BBQ and fun with family and some sweet friends.