She surrendered her life to Isa (Jesus) and it cost her everything. Her father wasn’t content with simply rejecting her, he turned her into the police and they didn’t speak again for 6 years. Ostracized from her entire community, she found refuge in the tiny underground church in this North African city where Christianity was illegal and congregations were counted on your fingers (if you could find them at all).
Yet there she was, full of hope and life and boldness and passion. It was contagious.
Every dinner table hosted a similar guest of honor, as each member of our team was inundated with broken-English stories of dreams and visions, supernatural encounters, and the power of the Gospel at work in a truly dark and lonely place. I was humbled and overwhelmed, completely riveted by her unfolding narrative of God’s grace and redemption in her life. Then, without warning, she turned and asked me:
“Do you have any daughters?”
“Two,” I said. “And one son.”
She put her hand on my arm and hit me with the haymaker.
“Don’t over-promise to your daughters. Teach them to depend on Jesus.”
Her comments caught me off guard. When did we start talking about me? Tell me some more stories about covert church gatherings and the spread of the Gospel in these Muslim strongholds.
But God was using this persecuted Christian girl to remind me of something vital. As a father, I am my kids’ protector, a provider and covering, an imperfect reflection of God placed there by God.
But not to replace Him.
The greatest gift I can give my children is to “teach them to depend on Jesus.”
I don’t ever want my girls to be forced to walk the road this young, persecuted Christian girl has been forced to travel. But I sure want them to be able to. If I remove every hardship, resolve every problem, allow them to side-step every suffering, in whom will they place their trust? In me or in Jesus?
It’s such a delicate balance and discernment, isn’t it? To be their protector and lead them to The Protector. To be their covering and lead them to The Covering. To be their hero yet lead them to The Savior.
Let’s take the challenge of this beautiful, young, persecuted believer.
Teach them to depend on Jesus.