These are dark days.
I received an email this week expressing familiar anguish over the haunting reports of 21 followers of Christ who were martyred by ISIS. “I am so grieved by the reports I hear, and I’ve had a hard time explaining to my children (without freaking them out) why we need to pray. I did tell them one day that terrorists over there (after I sort of explained “terrorists”) were doing horrible things to Christian children and we needed to pray for our government AND the church over there…but I feel pretty inept to explain the urgency of prayer here for my own young children… Help! And if I’m thinking this, I bet I’m not the only one….”
When bad things happen (someone dies, moves away, etc.), people often ask, “what books can I give my children to help them understand what is going on?”
While we at Redeemed Reader are working to develop a list of suitable resources on the persecuted church, martyrdom and Islam that parents can use, my present pain is too deep to wait. I want rest for my own soul and hope to give my children, especially my eight-year-old son who is capable of joining me in prayer.
When I am overwhelmed again with the news of persecuted and martyred Christians who are suffering at the hands of ISIS and Boko Haram, whether last year or last weekend, my heart cries out, “How long, O Lord?” And what shall I tell my children? Encouraged by this post, I am reminded that only Light shines in the darkness. That is the answer for our souls. So I gather my children around me and read Matthew 5:10-12, Revelation 6:9-11 and Acts 7:54-59; 9:1-5.
I am weeping by the last verse. This is the power of Truth that no neat printable booklist can improve upon. One of my favorite lines in C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces is when Orual finally confesses, “You (Lord) are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the answer. The gospel is the answer to our questions and our fears, and the reason why our brothers and sisters in the Middle East and Nigeria are willing to suffer, and why we must pray for them. There are books out there that may put things into simple language or give examples, but what matters most?
His Word and His example.