Meredith is our just-turned-12 daughter. She is a trooper. Upbeat, always willing, looking for a way to help in a meaningful way. Sometimes, she hides her worries.
Night before last, after being tucked into bed, she appeared again at our bedroom door, in tears. Earlier in the week, she had heard about the terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. She knew about the killings and explosions and woundings and all. And she knows that we will be living in or near Nairobi when we're in language training, which is scheduled to occur a few months from now. Hence the worry and the tears.
We talked for quite a while about the dangers of Nairobi and how we will deal with them. We talked about the earthly issues (Nairobi is a city of 3 million people, and the terrorist attack last week hurt fewer than 300 (we think). We will be following Embassy warnings and avoiding risky places. Etc.)
But more importantly, we talked about the heavenly issues. Jesus has all authority over heaven and earth (Mt 28). We are told not to worry but to bring our requests to God, with the promise of His peace (Phil 4, Mt 6).
Also, this journey isn't a vacation. We're 'deploying' on God's orders to help some magnificent people. The mission is important. And important work is rarely accomplished from the couch, free of risk.
Sometimes people tell us, "The safest place is in the middle of God's hands." And sometimes they're really wrong, and sometimes they're really correct.
When they mean "No bodily harm will befall you when you're a servant of God," they're quite wrong. Anyone who knows the history of the biblical Apostles knows that. They lived lives of shipwreck, imprisonment, torture, and violent death. Those risks did not end with those Apostles, as we know from the stories of Jim Elliot and so many contemporary Saints who are tortured and killed for their faith.
But they're correct if they mean, "Even in physical peril and death, the Child of God is secure and safe in knowing his or her destination." We hope and expect to hear, "Enter into the joy of your master."
Meredith heard this very difficult lesson, smiled, gave us a hug, and went back to bed.
The very next day (yesterday) she and James studied Swahili (Kiswahili, for you purists). They made post-it notes for their vocabulary words, attaching them to representative objects or drawing illustrative pictures.
There are dangers. But God has all authority. And in the midst of difficulty and pain and risk and loss and cost and even death, we can look forward to His overwhelming lovingkindness. How blessed indeed we are to be Children of God!
By the way, today (Oct 1) is Meredith's 12th birthday. I know she would love to hear your encouragement. Feel free to leave a comment for her.