Something scarier than death.
But isn’t it cruel or at least premature to fill the imagination of children with the stories and Scriptures of death for Christian discipleship?
When my son posed his question before dinner, I was tempted for a moment to comfort him by saying that he may not actually die for his faith. But that’s not what the children who saw Christ die on the cross would have understood. And that’s not how Jesus talked when he said things like, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you [on my account]” (Matthew 5:11).
There is nothing more eternally healthy for the imagination of a young boy than to hear these words and place himself in the drama of Scripture. The same young imagination that may at first fear death, when captivated by Christ will remember these words and the breath of Jesus that lays low his enemies.
In fact, we will know our children believe Jesus’ promises about heaven when they believe Jesus’ promises about now.
But death for Christ isn’t inevitable for those who profess him as Lord. There’s another possibility that is far worse: deception.
The bad guy Carson heard about on Sunday comes with “wicked deception for those who are perishing,” and those who turn on Christ will “suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9-10). Many of us won’t have to pick between our lives and Christ. But some of us will, and some of our children will, or perhaps their children. This is the kind of Christianity we must pass down.
So, yes, I truly hope my son’s life is in danger.
No, not because I want him to suffer in any way. I lock the door at night, buckle his seatbelt and give him food for a reason.
I’m talking about danger from unflinching association with a crucified man. The safest place in this world outside of Christ is, in reality, the most dangerous place we can be.
With that lesson before us, we sat down to eat, thanked God for our food and prayed as Jesus instructed: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”