Protecting your children is the obligation of a faithful parent. However, there is the false notion that children should be protected from every danger and uncertainty of life. That simply is not possible! There is too much uncertainty in life, too much which is beyond your control to protect . Yet, the temptation to worry about all of the things from which you cannot protect your children persists.
You cannot shield your children from life itself or even from their own hearts. The storms in Matthew 7 come to the wise and the unwise alike. Until you go to be with Christ, sin and uncertainty will be a part of life.
Do you want children to worry needlessly? Of course not. But neither do you want to give them the false impression that unexpected, painful things will not happen. They will. So, attempting to shield children from the harshness of life can result in giving the false impression that unexpected, bad things will never happen.
Here is the difference between protecting and shielding:
To protect means to prepare for the difficult challenges of life.
To shield is to act as if these events will not happen or that they be can be avoided.
Shielding means that no real preparation is done, so shielded children are actually unprotected children.
Here are three biblical principles to help you protect your children:
The first principle is from Luke 12: Don’t be controlled by worry. Worrying about what might happen will lead to a lack of stability and faith. Worry creates a relational climate of fear and doubt. Worrying about what might happen is spending energy on thinking about you cannot control. Jesus says if cares for ravens, he will care for you. Honoring God through obedience is the opposite of worry.
The second principle is from Psalm 46: God’s care is certain. The psalm assumes that hard things will happen and that God is a refuge of strength when life becomes difficult. This psalm teaches that even if life is falling about around you, God’s care is constant. He is a refuge strong and sure.
The third principle is from James 4: Your children must be conscious that things happen because of God’s will. Do not be presumptuous to the point of thinking that something will or will not happen simply because of what you want it to. James specifically speaks to the uncertainties of life:
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.'”
By putting these three principles together, you have a good strategy to protect your children. Don’t worry or stress about things out of your control. God is a refuge and place of comfort regardless of what happens. Whatever you do or plan acknowledge that the outcome is dependent upon the will of God.
Jesus says you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. If this is true then stop acting like you do know! This is the way it is in life. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring but God does. While situations are uncertain, God’s care is not. Speaking openly and frequently about these principles is a huge first step towards protecting and caring for your kids. Implementing these principles will help you protect your children without shielding them.