Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Courage Over Niceness

When my kids grow up, if the best that people can say about them is that they are really, really nice, I will be sorely disappointed. 

Yeah, okay, so I'll be relieved that they didn't choose a life of drugs; I'll be glad if Josiah actually avoids a criminal record, and it would be nice to know that they are hard-working, productive citizens. 

But only sort of. 

Because a person can be really, really nice and be a hard-working, productive citizen, and still live an absolutely meaningless life. 

My dream for my kids is that they will live a crazy, bold, risk-taking, culture-changing, selfless lives...for Jesus Christ. 

I pray that they won't be afraid to sneak into a country that is closed to Christians.  I pray that they will be willing to risk their lives for the gospel.  That they will rather go to prison than compromise what they believe.  I pray that they will desire to get dirty, sacrifice comfort, and love the glory of God more than the praise of men. 

I pray this for HOPAC students too.  And it's a tall order, I know.  Not exactly something I can control in the lives of our students, or even my own kids.  Really, it's up to the Holy Spirit to light that fire.  But I can certainly pack in the kindling.

Which is why I am teaching Voice of the Martyr's Kids of Courage Curriculum in elementary chapel this semester. 

It's written for a VBS, but it's easily adaptable for other settings.  It focuses on five countries where Christians are persecuted, written on a kid's level.  Yesterday morning, I taught on North Korea.  In later weeks, I will go through Nigeria, India, China, and Egypt. 
It's not pretty to teach kids about suffering around the world.  Not all the stories have happy endings, and they are full of hunger, pain, and lostness.  But strength, perseverance, courage, and of course, joy, permeate the lives of these believers.  And that's what I want for my kids.
Tanzania recently turned up as #24 on the list of countries with the most Christian persecution.  America is not on that list, but yet, it's pretty obvious that's where we are headed.   Lines are being drawn in the sand.  Are our kids strong enough to stand their ground?

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