We have seen terrorists mow down pedestrians on streets, bike paths and open field concerts but when a madman opens fire on children, mothers, and fathers in a place of worship, the pain cuts deeper. Church is a sanctuary where terror and bullets should never enter. When stained glass images of Jesus are shattered and Christians are shot while praying, it feels as though everything we hold sacred is shaken.
To make matters worse, arrogant zealots of the religion of secularism laugh at us taunting, “See, you fools? Where is your God now?” Much as we say this doesn’t bother us, it does. It cuts beneath the foundation of our faith in God arousing the haunting question, “could they be right? How can a good God allow such carnage and pain into the lives of those who claim to love Him?”.
The answer is: God allows evil. Excellent theologians like Pope Francis, Ravi Zacharias, and Philip Yancey exposit this fact beautifully using biblical truths and I strongly encourage every parent to read their writings. Every one of us parents will wrestle with this until our dying days but in the meantime, there are decisions we must make for our children and ourselves. And there are answers we must give them. These are critical so please don’t miss them.
1. Do we choose to teach our children that God is real, loving and powerful or that He is a figment of our needy imaginations? The time has come when we parents join one camp or the other. We can either teach our children what we believe about God so that they can develop a core inner strength and belief system by which they live or we can teach them that they can choose to believe or not believe in God when they are older. If we choose the latter, understand this: the religion of secularism is gaining momentum and their believers, like Stephen King, are aggressive and loud. If you teach nothing, your children will choose secularism.
2. Do we teach our children to turn to God or government for help? The only answer secularists give to the problem of evil is legislation. More power in the hands of the right people and evil will diminish. Teachers communicate this to small children and professors on college campuses hammer at the minds of young adults to rid them of logic, reason or religious thought. The alternative they give to God is government and legislators. When terrorism occurs, children die or the innocent suffer, our college students will refuse to waste time seeking real power in God and demand that our government or institutions do more. But these will fail them. Because it fails us now.
3. Does secularism put the minds and souls of our children at risk or is it harmless? The answer lies behind us. History poignantly teaches us that humans are spiritual beings. The overwhelming majority of men, women, and children who have populated planet earth have intuitively gravitated toward worship because we know that life beyond what we see and experience exists. Children and adults cannot live with spiritual voids very long. We have historically filled those spiritual voids with a diversity of faiths: Buddhism, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, etc. Your children and mine are spiritual beings. The choice before us isn’t whether or not to give our children a religious foundation; it is which one to give them. If we choose to deny our children a belief in God’s existence because we can’t answer hard questions, secularist beliefs will sweep in and fill every crack in their inner spiritual vacuums.
The most important decisions we parents must make now have little to do with the mechanics of parenting and everything to do with the eternal fate of our children, the happiness with which they live their lives and the hope onto which they grab in the midst of evil. We can be sure of one thing: evil is not leaving. We can either throw up our hands and demand help from our legislatures or drop to our knees and ask a God who has the power to raise the dead back to life, stop the earth from rotating on its axis and reach from heaven into a tiny Baptist church in Texas to sweep bodies of faithful men, women and children into heaven. God, as He describes Himself in the New and Old Testaments does not abandon us when evil surrounds us. He marches smack into the center of it. And when the bullets stop, the bodies lie still and the wailing of the grief-stricken starts, He stays.
Evil moves on but God always stays.
And that’s what each of us must remember: God, not the government, has spoken to us about evil. He tells us what we know – evil ends. And God wins because God stays on earth, in heaven and into eternity. Where will government be then?
Our job as good parents is to help our children live with hope in spite of hardship.
Our job as good parents is to help our children live with hope in spite of hardship. The only way to give them hope is to give them God. Not Washington.