After yet another horrific school shooting in our nation last week, I’ve prayed for the families who lost loved ones and the students who must return this week and face the scene of their worst nightmares. My heart grieves for the Parkland, FL students, their families, and their community. As a parent, I can’t help but imagine myself in their situation. Setting aside politics and debates over guns and gun rights, I know deep inside, there but for the grace of God go I. It could have been my children. It could have been any community.
I’ve prayed long and hard at night, before I go to sleep, that God hold my children in His hands, close to His breast, and protect them when they leave home and go out into the world. It’s sad that when I say this prayer, I mean when they go to school, but it’s true. I have faith in our local school system, but one can control for only so many things. Even the best Code Red plans cannot prevent a mentally unbalanced person from attempting the next, big atrocity to be regarded as the worst mass school casualty in the nation.
So, the past two mornings, I’ve sat my kids down before driving them to school, and we’ve talked about the two best forms of protection they have. The first is to follow the school’s Code Red policies and minimize themselves as a target. Get away, run, hide. Whichever is applicable to their situation. The second, and the one I most wanted to impress upon them, is that no matter what, they wear an impenetrable armor invisible to human eyes, but not to the eye of their Beholder. If they cannot escape, they should stand strong and have courage, for they wear the Armor of God.
Yesterday, we discussed the first part of this armor: Ephesians 6:16-17. Equipment. They wear God’s truth as a belt around their waist, his righteousness as armor on their chest. On their feet, they are sandaled with the gospel. They bear the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, God’s word. With this Armor of God, no matter what happens, even if the worst, they are assured of salvation and eternal life in heaven. They are equipped for battle.
Today, we discussed the second part of this armor: Hebrews 11:1-2, 6. Faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1, NIV) Moses and Abraham, Jacob and David had relationships with God in which He spoke directly to them. The apostles and Mary Magdalene, among others, saw Jesus’ many miracles, and they and 500 witnesses saw the risen savior. But our faith doesn’t come from what we’ve seen, but from what we trust and know in our hearts to be true. The Holy Spirit lives in our hearts and guides our faith. This faith is the heart of our armor. It is the sword and shield.
If the worst should happen, I want my children to stand strong in their faith, for they shall see Jesus in Heaven and live with Him eternally.