Several years ago, our daughter-in-law was getting ready to take a business trip to Orlando. She flew out of Greensboro to stay for five days – learning some new, good stuff for her work. Our grandson (13 year old Noah) was very concerned about her flying. His concern is about terrorists. Isn’t that a sad commentary on life in the world today where a 13 year old worries about terrorists attacking his mommy’s plane?
So, what would you do to comfort this young man if he were your grandson? Really, I would be interested to know.
The first thing we tried to do was convince Noah that planes are very safe today, in fact, they are safer than driving. But Noah knows that his dad nor I like to fly. We don’t want to be involved in the consequences of the pilot’s bad day. So, I am not so sure that we were very convincing on that part.
The next thing is to pray with Noah. But here is the catch… what we believe about prayer and what Noah believes about prayer may be completely different things. Most of us start out thinking that God is a candy machine that we put in our request (quarter) pull the knob (pray) and out comes the candy (the desired results). In other words Noah just may think that when we pray for God to look after his mom that God is going to insulate that plane from any harm whatsoever – nothing will happen to that plane no matter what – cause God has made it off limits from the circumstances of the physical world. Is that really what we believe happens when we pray – that God changes the physical nature of things in order to accommodate our wishes?
Shirley prayed for me every single day I was away from home in Vietnam. Did I get to come home safe because she prayed for me to come home safe? Quite honestly, I don’t know. But what about all those other guys (some with me) whose wives and mothers prayed the same prayer every day with as much faith as Shirley? And they didn’t come home alive. How do we explain that? Do we say God blessed me but not my buddies? I don’t think so.
Do we explain to him that what we really need to ask for is for God’s will to be done in this situation and in every situation… and to help us accept what happens? That is a tough thing for a seventy-two-year old to accept, much less a (at that time) 13-year- old. So where does that leave us?
It leaves us in the mystery of God’s will, God’s providence, and God’s grace. I must admit that there is more that is beyond me than what I know. I do know what I can do. I can take this little guy in my arms and tell him the truth that I believe from the depths of my soul – that God wants only that which is good for us. And that God will do all God can to make sure your mommy is safely back home. We will pray for her every night and you will talk with her every night till she gets home and you are back in her arms again.
Dear Lord, help me to be able to pray with children prayers that enable them to know that you do, indeed, watch over them through every difficult situation, through every time when they are afraid of the world and all the evil it may produce. Give them strength and courage in the face of it all, knowing that you are holding them in your loving arms. In and through Jesus. Amen.
Grace and Peace