A letter to my daughter in turbulent times
Dear Baby Girl,
I'm writing this letter to you to help me work out some things that have been difficult to process. You are two years old, and too young to understand anything going on in the world right now. But as your mother, I'm trying to find what is true and hold onto it dearly.
Two weeks ago, a new president entered office in the United States. As usual in our country, a lot of people are really happy about it, and many are equally angry and afraid. This president is the most divisive I have ever seen.
Jesus, the apostles, the prophets, and countless other believers in history have lived during worse political times, and they were faithful until the end. So I believe we're going to make it. My salvation doesn't depend on anything other than what the Lord Jesus has accomplished on the cross. That said, the heroes in the Bible didn't necessarily ignore the times in which they lived, and I don't believe that is the answer either.
Right now, my generation is in its prime. Some day you will ask me what I did at moments when the world seemingly slipped into chaos. How did I feel? Did I speak out or stay silent? What did I believe? What did I do about it? I will have an answer for your questions. But words aren't enough.
As important as it is to teach you the truth in words, the life I live in front of you really teaches you how to live and what to believe.
As James explains, "faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:16). I don't want my faith to be dead.
Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). I'm struggling to understand what that means practically right now. Things on this earth are temporary, and "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:21). And yet Jesus appeared in bodily form and resurrected in bodily form. Our humanity is both spiritual and physical; the two sides are inextricably linked. Therefore what happens on this earth matters. What we do affects us and those around us in real, tangible ways, even for eternity.
My goal in life isn't just to make money or be admired, but to live a life of obedience to God, worshipping Him in all I do. Every decision I make and even every conversation I have is a chance to please my creator. Moment by moment, I have the opportunity to walk in His ways and be transformed into His likeness. Thankfully, Jesus told me how to do this: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'" (Matthew 22:37-39). That's my job as a believer. In every city, in every culture, in every neighborhood, Christians are to love God and love others.
Loving our neighbor seems like the most difficult thing to accomplish when we vehemently disagree about how to achieve "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." I think Galatians has a good caution for us in this climate: "You were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another" (Galatians 5:13-15, ESV).
The world we're building right now, the one my generation is creating for our children to inhabit, isn't just a part of some random cosmic ecosystem. When I die, I will leave you a physical inheritance and a spiritual one. So I have a million decisions to make, one at a time, that will affect you. But no matter if I fail or if I succeed, here are some promises that give me great hope:
- "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
- "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38).
I believe these promises for our family today, my sweet girl, and moreover for our world. Jesus Christ will have His way no matter what happens in politics or the economy or healthcare. He is building His church, and the gates of hell won't prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). The Gospel will be proclaimed throughout the world, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).
Today, Daddy and I seek the Lord on your behalf and lead you through this life. But someday, we'll get to partner with you to ask hard questions and find a godly response. I look forward to that time so much.
With all my heart,