You asked me if I care about your children and my heart sank right into my chest. Oh, how that hurt. Do I want your children—or mine—to grow up in a world full of danger and evil?
I didn’t answer then. The words I saw sprawled across the internet were written in black and white but they were painted in frustration, and there was nothing I could say to convince you or have you trust my intentions. But today, as the sun shines bright and the cold wind rips the golden leaves from the trees I’ll tell you, if you’ll try to listen, what I want for our children.
I want our children, yours and mine, to walk through life without the fear that lurks in dark corners and jumps out behind new neighborhoods, new people, and a 24 hour news cycle. I want our children to know the Creator of the Universe is with them and has reminded them over and over again that His hand is on them and no matter what happens, He is there.
I want our children to make the words written in Matthew 25 so much a part of their lives that they cannot help to see the Imago Dei in each and every person they meet. I want our children to live a life of service and community.
I want our children to mourn with those who mourn and weep with those who weep. I want them to know lament. I want them to know joy.
I want our children to trust that God is true even if every human they meet is a liar.
I want our children to do the hard things, relying only on God’s grace.
But there’s so much more.
I want our children to laugh and play with the girls in their class who wear the hijab.
I want our children to smile at the neighbors as we walk by, without fear, just God’s love shining through.
I want our children to know real freedom. Not the kind we try to give here, but the kind that is only found through walking with God.
I want our children to have Kingdom dreams, not the American Dream.
I want our children to live out the things we teach them on Sunday mornings, walking by faith so they will be counted with the saints.
I want our children to live a life of radical grace.
I want our children to be world changers, not just in name but truly ready to walk in the unknown instead of retreating into a desire for safety and comfort.
We serve a God who asks us over and over to do what seems impossible. He asks Abraham to sacrifice his own child. He asks us to walk into fiery furnaces. To sleep with the lions. To sell off all that we have to follow Him. He asks us to live in such an extravagant way that we treat all those around us as if they are God in the flesh. He tells us there will be wars and rumors of wars but to fear not.
Friends, he tells us not to fear. He says He is with us. He gives us assurance over and over again even as He asks us to do the impossible. I cannot read the words of my Jesus without saying my door is open. I cannot turn away those in need. The commands to love others without reservation far outweigh anything that hints at self-preservation. I am compelled by the Gospel to welcome the refugee. And I want that for my children, and yours as well. Not because of a pie in the sky idea that love wins and all will be okay, and certainly not out of political correctness. I welcome the refugee because Jesus so radically welcomed me. And that is what I want for our children.