The tragic shooting at Perry Hall High School on Monday, the first day of school, causes us all to again ponder how uncertain life can be. We pray for the student who was shot as well as those who witnessed it. But for all our anticipation and preparation for beginning the school year, we hardly considered that when we dropped them off, we might not ever see them again. Please God, may we have learned our lesson well.
How can we protect our children when we’re not around? The fact is, we cannot. We entrust them to others; but all men are feeble and our ultimate trust must rest in Almighty God. Monday’s harrowing experience caused us to bow our heads in renewed humility and commit our children to the Lord’s merciful care. And we gave fresh thanks that they have given their hearts to Christ, that we can know where and how they will spend eternity. Oh Lord, how many in that student body know you and trust you for their salvation? May we at LRPC intercede for their souls.
Part of protecting those we care about (young or old) is teaching them about the sorrowful realities of living in a fallen, broken world as well as the joyful realities of responding to the Gospel and following Christ. A passage in Ephesians captures that very well when Paul, in chapter 6 verses 10-20, writes about the whole armor of God. The puritan William Gurnall has written extensively (some 1200 pages) on this text and has opened up both God’s Word and our struggle exceedingly well. For family devotions, we are using a book, The Christian in Complete Armour, edited by James Bell and published by Moody which has broken Gurnall’s treatise into daily readings. What we read today was so good, I’d like to share it with you. It’s title was “Head and Heart.”
“He who has only a nodding acquaintance with the King may easily be persuaded to change his allegiance, or will at least try to remain neu-tral in the face of trea-son. Some professing Christians have only a passing acquaintance with the Gospel. They can hardly give an ac-count of what they hope for, or whom they hope in. And if they have some principles they take kindly to, they are so unsettled that every wind blows them away, like loose tiles from the house top.
When Satan buffets and temptation washes over you like a tidal wave, you must cling to God’s truths. They are your shelter in every raging storm. But you must have them on hand, ready to use. Do not wait until it is sinking to patch the boat. A feeble commitment has little hope of safety when caught in a tem-pest. While that floun-ders and drowns, holy determination, grounded in the Lord, will lift up its head like a rock in the midst of the highest waves.
Scripture promises, “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do ex-ploits” (Dan. 11:32). An angel told Daniel which men would stand up and be counted for God when tempted and persecuted. Some would be taken in by the bribery of corrupt men; others would fall victim to intimidation and threats. But a few, who were firmly grounded in the tenants of their faith, would do great things for God. That is to say, to flatter-ies they would be incorruptible, and to power and force, unconquerable.
Head knowledge of the things of Christ is not enough; this following Christ is primarily a matter of the heart. If your heart is not fixed in its purpose, your principles, as good as they may be, will hang loose and be of no more use in the heat of battle than an ill-strung bow. Half-hearted resolve will not venture much nor far for Christ.
May we, by God’s grace and for His glory, have hearts well-grounded as we venture forth in this life. This is my prayer for my chil-dren and for you.