When you have kids, there is always something to worry about, something to keep you up praying at night and get you up early the next morning praying some more.
When Kyle was four and Charles was an infant Lois asked Kyle to watch Charles so he wouldn’t roll off the changing table. She had to run to the next room for something.
She said; “Kyle, wait here and don’t move until I get back. Don’t let Charles roll off the table.”
“OK, mom,” he promised.
She left the room. He waited for a minute and then, to make her think Charles had fallen from the table, Kyle jumped up and stomped his feet on the floor.
Lois rushed back in the room and shouted, “What happened?”
Charles was lying contentedly on the changing table and Kyle was standing there looking up with a mischievous smile on his face.
The whole family was back together around the same table in our new home last night for the first time since the beginning of summer when Kyle and his wife, Elizabeth went north to minister at Camp Barakel. It was good to be together again. We ate and laughed and told stories. I noticed that we have reached an interesting stage. Most of the jokes were on us now.
Charles launched into a memory about the time we were fishing the Kokosing River in Ohio. Since Charles was small I set him up to fish from a huge boulder over the river and told him to stay there while I walked downstream to find a place for Kyle to fish without getting his gear twisted up in branches overhead.
Just as we stepped out of sight we heard a shout from Charles and a huge splash, followed by silence. We looked back and the rock was bare. I panicked and shouted and began to run back to try to find the place where Charles had fallen into the water. After a few heart-pounding moments he popped his head up from his hiding place and said; “Hi, Dad.” He had tossed a log into the water so that I would worry that he was being swept away down the river to his death. Nice kid.
Those boys have been unrelentingly playing with our minds for two decades now. I don’t know where they learned that. It’s a wonder we have retained a portion of our sanity.
Raising sons and daughters right requires constant vigilance. To do it right you have to continually be aware of dangers they face and things that threaten to harm them. I know the enemy, Satan, wants to kill them, steal them, or destroy them to bring dishonor to God, but he wants them to have abundant life and fullness of joy. The enemy has a special strategy to damage or destroy their souls. His strategies almost always involve palatable lies. He specializes in lies that are so “almost true” that they are deadly. He custom-crafts lies for each of us based on our vulnerability calculated to cause the most damage, injury, and death possible.
When I get up early in the morning and pray for my children I like to ask myself about each of my sons and daughters, about my wife and myself, “What lie is he trying to kill me with today?” “What lie is he using to try to destroy my daughter?” What lie is he using to dry to steal my son?” What lie is he using to try to kill my wife?” He deals in death and lies are his deadly weapons. (John 8:44f)
It’s a moral and spiritual minefield out there and it’s my job to help them safely through it. It’s a long, dangerous trail that leads to the Celestial City and I want all the family to gather there one day with no empty chairs.
August 29, 2006