My second grader came home from school this week and casually asked me if I knew that Israel was at war. Whenever I get a difficult question from my children I typically ask what they know about the proposed topic before giving my answer. This helps me gauge just how much I need to share when it comes to uncomfortable or adult subject matter, and I don’t believe anything is more gut-wrenching than explaining pure evil to an innocent child.
While I was carefully finding my words to Margot’s question, she did what kids tend to do and started asking more questions before I could even answer. She began talking through all of her thoughts and concerns on the subject and voicing the connections she had already made in her seven year old world. She has recently read all of the American Girl books about Molly McIntire, a character growing up in the 1940s during the end of WWII. Molly’s dad is overseas serving the US Army as a doctor while her family hosts an English girl seeking refuge from the trauma and threats she faced back home in Europe.
My daughter wanted to know, eighty years later, if there would be attacks on America like when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor back in Molly’s time. Margot wondered if the kids in Israel were scared and in danger like Molly’s friend that came to the United States for safety. Did they have enough food to eat or was it being rationed like it was in England during the 40s? One of the hardest things about being a parent is not being able to protect your child from the foothold the devil has in this world. It feels wrong to assure someone that they are safe and attacks will not happen here when the unthinkable happens everyday all over the world and the truth is unknown.
“This is what the Lord Says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-the Lord Almighty is his name: ‘Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,’ declares the Lord, ‘will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.’
This is what the Lord says: ‘Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,’ declares the Lord.
‘The days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when this city will be rebuilt for me from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. The measuring line will stretch from there straight to the hill of Gareb and then turn to Goah. The whole valley where dead bodies and ashes are thrown, and all the terraces out to the Kidron Valley on the east as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, will be holy to the Lord. The city will never again be uprooted or demolished.'”Jeremiah 31:35-40
As my firstborn was listing off all the possible scenarios and questions that had stemmed from what she knew concerning warfare, she didn’t give me the opportunity to interject before declaring, “I guess it doesn’t really matter because I already know who wins.” She elaborated that God promised to protect and provide for the nation of Israel and will ultimately deliver His people to victory. Margot recalled how God took care of the Israelites in Egypt and stood by them in every battle then shrugged her shoulders as she declared, “So I guess I’m not really too worried about it” before heading off to go play with her sister.
While I am blown away by her childlike faith and biblical knowledge, I, for one, can’t help but be worried about events playing out across the globe. Horrific things are happening right now because of people who are driven entirely by hatred. God never promised protection from pain and suffering and not even Jesus himself was able to escape death, but He did promise victory over death. Like Margot reminded me, the victory has already been won and we can count on God’s promise of shalom when the new Jerusalem comes down from heaven and God wipes away every tear from the eyes of his people. We can rest assured that in the end it is all going to be ok.
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