Safe not Sheltered

Erik Cooper —  February 28, 2009 — Leave a comment

I’ve started to change the way I pray for my kids.

I think we all have this dream of what life should be like.  It’s a little different for all of us, but regardless of location, race, or socio-economic background, we all want good things for those we love.  So we dream of our son becoming a doctor, our daughter the CEO of a fortune 500 company, or at the absolute least a marriage providing all the comforts of the American dream:  2.3 kids (still struggle with the math there) and a two-story house in the suburbs with a picket fence.  Your picture may be a little different, but suffice it to say we want the best for those we love.

Jesus said to pray “…don’t let us yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.” (Mat. 6:13)

That verse says a lot about protection from sin and physical harm, but very little about keeping us naive and sheltered.  As a father, I often fear that sheltered is what I desire.  I want my children to be happy, to love their lives and feel secure.  But God never promised happiness.  He did promise purpose.

So my prayer has changed, or probably more my perspective on the same prayer.  I still pray diligently for protection from sin and physical harm, but I’m beginning to pray that God makes us dangerous in the way we live.  Not “bungee jump off the nearest skyscraper” dangerous (although that could be fun), but bold and courageous.  Jesus called us to radical discipleship.  If that is lived out through 2.3 kids and a picket fence, I’m great with that.  But if it means feeding AIDS orphans in Swaziland or serving the poor in inner-city LA, I’ll celebrate that too.  I’m praying for dreams of purpose, not happiness.

Keep us safe, but not sheltered.  Make us bold.  Make us courageous.  Make us dangerous.

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