Trees and Children

by Marilyn Ehle

“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.�
Jeremiah 17:7-8

In our well-intended effort to protect our children from the effects of an increasingly secular and self-absorbed culture, I wonder if we are growing spindly saplings instead of sturdy oaks?

Children are naturally curious about anything they perceive as “forbidden fruit.� Have you ever watched a toddler who has been told “don’t touch�?? As soon as the parent’s head is turned, little fingers reach toward the hot oven door, wet paint or sharp knife.

How much better it would be to read together the questionable book, sit side by side during the dubious movie or television program, and then discuss the subject in light of our being called citizens of the Kingdom of God.

First-century Christ followers were not all adults. Children also lived under the reign of godless tyrants. They, too, were slandered for their faith. Entire families lived in caves. They were stripped of the support of extended family as they became “scattered exiles� (1 Peter 1:1).

It is wise to support seedlings fresh out of moist earth, but robust trees are formed when they learn to bear the hot sun, drenching rain and howling winds. Only then do the trees create seeds which abundantly reproduce.

Lord, you know how much I want to protect my children from all harm and evil. You understand how my heart breaks when they make poor choices. Teach me how and when to intervene so they will be strong enough to withstand all that life throws at them.

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