As we were getting ready for bed I tried to tenderly warn my animal-loving children that a fox in our neighborhood would NOT be their friend. I thought I had tread as carefully as possible on potentially terrifying ground. I explained that it was highly unlikely they would see him, and that he would probably be so frightened of our dogs he would never come anywhere near our home--but, just in case, I wanted to make sure they knew not to try to touch, pet or call the fox near them.
As you might guess, my sweet children's imaginations went wild as they prepared to go to bed. I was peppered with all sorts of questions from eyes that were begging for my assurance that they would be safe. So, I did just that. One by one I sat on the edge of their bed. We prayed. I leaned in. We locked eyes. I asked them to trust me.
"Haven't I always kept you safe? Isn't that my job? I will not let a fox get you. Trust me."
For P, that was enough. He grinned a huge relieved grin and said, "I trust you." Then he turned over and without further conversation settled down for peaceful sleep.
R, on the other hand, still wanted to trust himself. With great bravado he told me that he was going to play outside "wiff a diff-a-went weapon ev-e-wee day--a sword, a gun, a dagger..." so that IF the fox did show up he "can sca-wah dem off so he cannot give us his diseases."
K's questions were nonstop. What would we do if we saw him? If animal control came what would they do? How would they give him a shot without getting bit and getting his diseases? What if we could just hit him with our car? What would happen to his body?
I left their rooms and went immediately to research rabid foxes...and it scared me to death too. After reading a few articles I realized that they are predatory and unpredictable. I cannot promise my children that the fox will stay away (anymore than I can promise them any other protection really.) This world is crazy, sinful, unpredictable, sometimes predatory and danger is lurking.
Yet, I am their Mommy. They are little. I want my children to feel safe with me. Security is part of my job.
My primary job, however, is to deflect all glory to God.
I wish I had taken the chance to encourage them to trust God instead of me. I was convicted of that even as I sat in their beds. But in the back of my mind all I could think about was the CS Lewis quote from the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe when Lucy encounters the lion Aslan for the first time and she asks: ‘Is he safe?’
The answer is, ‘No, he’s not safe, but he’s good.’
I could not promise them that God would always protect them, because as far as the human understanding of circumstantial protection is concerned, He won't.
But just as Lewis writes, our Sovereign God IS good. Scripture confirms that in numerous places. Here is one of the most straightforward:
"Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is GOOD..." Psalm 107:1
This world is a mess, but He is good.
And I am certain that a lion can take out a fox any day of the week!