I grew up a part of the last generation of kids who were free to be kids. No cell phones. No bike helmets.
During Summer break we would walk out the door after breakfast, play outside all day (or sometimes at our rich friend’s house because he had a Nintendo and cable TV) and return home by sunset. I look back with rose colored glasses, sure – but that was my life! It was incredible and I wish so badly it was the life my kids could have. Steven Spielberg-ian adventures on a 10-speed with a motley group of friends.
The world has changed greatly over the last 30 years – maybe the greatest awakening to evil since World War 2. Hyperconnectivity gives us a constant feed on fearful deeds and dangerous people. We enact rules and regulations to create the illusion of safety, but I think deep down we all know that it is by God’s grace that we survive every day. It’s an act of faith to let my kids out of my sight – let alone to trust their well-being to others. And to let them roam free in this world of predators?! Not even a chance.
But I get the sneaking suspicion that pretty much every parent – every person – in ages past and present have wrestled with these fears.
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT
The Gospel of John commits almost a third of its length to the dinner conversation in the Upper Room the night Jesus would be betrayed. It’s a group of friends – family, really – enjoying Passover together. Laughing, singing, celebrating. And then Jesus starts talking to them in earnest. He tells them what is about to happen (they didn’t believe Him). He tells them about the life they will lead in the future (they couldn’t even imagine it). But mostly He tells them how much He loves them and how He will take care of them and send His Spirit to them and be with them no matter what happens.
Terrorism. Global warming. Child predators. Natural disasters and wars. These things are real. And there are things we can and should do to combat them. But we don’t have to live in fear. Jesus loves us! His Spirit is inside of us! This world? He has overcome it. We can hop on that metaphorical 10-speed and go play in peace.
Have a great Summer vacation! Turn off the cellphone – build a fort – eat a bunch of snoballs!
If you are headed out of town – don’t forget the LifeSongs Radio App!