Saturday, October 20, 2007

Preparing Our Children, the Halflings, for Spiritual Warfare

My husband and I are currently doing our annual-ish review of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and we're halfway through "The Two Towers" right now.

Last night, much of the focus was on two Hobbits (small & simple people, for those of you who, *gasp*, might not be familiar with LOTR), named Merry & Pippin. Long story short, they end up in the care of a talking tree herder (who is a tree of sorts himself), Treebeard. Gandalf, the incredibly powerful White Wizard (good guy), has charged Treebeard with keeping up with them and not letting them fall into enemy hands.

So then, as they're walking through the forest at one point, Treebeard says to the "halflings" in his care:

I told Gandalf I would keep you safe - - and safe is where I'll keep you.

I couldn't help but think of what a picture this is of Christian parenting. We're charged to care for these little "halflings" we've been given. It's only for a season, and even as we care for them and try to keep them from harm, there's a war brewing. The enemy wants to gain control of our little ones, and he seeks to steal, kill, and destroy their simple souls.

And yet, then, even as I was thinking on this comparison, it came to mind that later in the film, Treebeard lets these two Hobbits walk into open war with him. Their lives are in danger, and yet he protects them as he can, and they begin to fight alongside him.

What a beautiful picture for Christian parents!

There is a time for walking in the forest with our children, protecting them, planning, keeping them safe, and educating them about the real risks of the battle around us. But then there is a time for walking into the battle with them, letting them fight alongside us, and eventually releasing them to fight as skilled and well-taught warriors in the spiritual battle raging in the world around us. I want to walk as not only a care-taker of my children (protecting them from harm, as far as I am able), but as a mentor and instructor for them- preparing them for their future struggles against the enemy. We fight a crafty adversary, but the One with Whom we stand is far stronger!

There is joy in knowing that however dark the battle gets around us
(birth control given out to middle schoolers, pornography disguised as entertainment, the devaluing of all that is true and right, and all other forms of "advances" the enemy is making in our generation), there is a sure and victorious outcome if we stand on the Lord's side.

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