My Dearest Darling Children,
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but since I’ve been a Giant Buzz Kill basically since the first time you tried to put your tiny toddler fingers in an electrical outlet and I frantically screamed “NOOOOOO!!!” — I guess you’re kinda used to hearing this sort of thing from me. So here goes:
You guys are in serious trouble. Well, at least the older two of you are. Your little brother isn’t quite old enough to have gotten in this deep yet—but I actually hope his day is coming.
Why, you ask, are you up to your knees in tribulation?? What did YOU DO to deserve this?
It’s simple, my babes: you made the decision to follow Christ.
And for this reason, because you live in a messed-up, broken world that eschews Him who came to save it, you’re in trouble deep.
Ask me how I know.
Ok, don’t ask. I’m going to tell you anyway.
In this life, ALL of us have trouble, my babies. No one is immune to disease, car wrecks, depression, natural disasters or tragedy. Not a one of us.
But the Bible says that those of us who follow Christ are in for a special kind of trouble with the world in which we have to live. In these times especially, most of the people (beloved of God, precious in His sight, though they are) we live with and around will reject Christ. They will reject letting Him rule over their lives, they will reject taking up their cross, they will reject dying to their own wishes and wants and putting others first. But in this they will also reject FREEDOM, freedom from sin, freedom from rejection, freedom to be perfectly and wholly cherished by their Creator.
And they will also reject you, my loves. It may be people you work with, it may be your friends, it may be even be family members who will cast you off for following Christ. As for myself, I’m a writer, and people who don’t agree with what I write about my faith in Christ and the things that it compels me to believe and do have called me ugly names and wished some pretty bad things to happen to me. They are bold in their hate and rejection, as I was bold in my faith and conviction, so they put it in writing, too.
It hurts when this happens. It doesn’t feel good, at all. And when you’re older, things may be even worse for you than they are for Christians of my generation. In our country, people of faith are called names and made fun of because of their beliefs. We are made to be the “bad guy” when we don’t agree with the popular opinion. But in other countries, Christians are imprisoned, torutred, and killed for their faith, so I consider our current troubles to be pretty minor…
…and always totally worth it. The person of Christ, and his gift of salvation, is more powerful than anything we are called to endure in His name. I believe that, and I hope you will too.
I know sometimes we think the Christian life should be 100% rosy—after all, if we “live our lives right” won’t we be REWARDED by God? The truth is, kiddos, that the moment you accepted Christ into your life and received forgiveness from your sins, you got ALL you need from Him on this earth and beyond. He doesn’t owe us anything, but He gave us everything. He told his own disciples:
“…in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. 3 They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. 4 I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them.” (John 16:2-4)
To drive that point home, he also told them a few verses later that “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (verse 33). He left us this in His word so that we can KNOW it’s gonna happen, but that we can have PEACE through our troubles because they are of this world and temporary—and He’s everything we need to get through them.
Kids, this world is NOT going to “get” you or me. They aren’t going to understand why our faith impels us to do things they might see as “bad”—at the time of this writing, there are lots of behaviors that go against God’s word that Christians are called “bad guys” (and worse) for not accepting or agreeing with. (There’s a huge double standard here, but that’s an article for another day.)
Paul addresses this when he talks to the church in 1 Corinthians 2, saying,
12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.[c] 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
They are gonna think you’re fools, kids. They will call you haters, when you know in your heart that you love, love, love your neighbors. They will overlook any good you do— or worse, distort it until it looks bad.
Christ has overcome the world. All the battles you’ve yet to fight are ALREADY WON. When we leave this world and enter into the place He has prepared for us in Heaven, we will see clearly. Until then, there are some burdens, some troubles, that we have to be content to let Him carry for us. And since I am your mama, I hope you will come to me and let me help you bear the burdens and troubles of living for Christ in a world that kicks against Him, too.
Oh, and also; YOU’RE GROUNDED.