I was driving to work this morning after just dropping off my 11-year-old son. The cars in front of his school form a line and one by one the children get out of their cars and walk to a gathering place. Though I have already had one son go all the way through junior high and high school and another who is a senior in high school, my concern as a parent remains for my youngest attending his first year in junior high and his first year outside of our church’s private school. I watched him walk into a group of a hundred kids or more. He is a sixth grader in a world of eighth graders. He has been raised very innocently now in a world of smut. He told me just after a couple of days of school in this new place that he needed some earphones. Later, he mentioned that he wanted these so that after school he could listen to music instead of hearing all of the language and conversations that take place after school. I drove slowly away and looked back with a prayer in my spirit for the Lord to take care of him and protect him from harm. He noticed me watching and smiled back at me then disappeared into the crowd. My heart hurt letting him go.
Alright! Leave me alone! I know I am a preacher and I should have faith that God will protect him. Well… I do. I do have faith that God will protect him, but I also know that God does not stop every tragedy.
As I drove away, I turned my radio to the news. My son doesn’t enjoy the news and frankly, I don’t want him hearing all of the news. It is stressful for me; how much more for an 11-year-old. There was a newsbreak from the program I was listening to and the story reported crushed me. Kayden Culp, a ten-year-old special needs child was lured into a shack with other boys of the same age. He thought they were his friend. One of them doused Kayden with gasoline while another lit him on fire. My mind went into a bit of shock; tears rolling down my face thinking of the horror this little boy encountered today. I quickly began thinking, “What if it had been my son?” and I began to weep.
When I was able to get to my office, I quickly looked up the story. There were not many more details than what I heard on the radio except that Kayden is on life support and one of the other three boys has been taken into custody. I scrolled down into the comment area to read what others were thinking. I came across a comment that went something like this:
“If you were a parent and you knew without any doubt
Something like this was going to happen to your kid,
Wouldn’t you stop it?”
“God is a terrible parent!”
The implication is that as our Father, if God were a good parent, He would never let these things happen, but of course, they do. Is God a bad parent? If we are all honest, we have all had moments where it seemed that God had left us unprotected.
The problem with this statement is that the only way to keep our children from being hurt would be to never let them leave the house. Well…wait a minute…don’t most accidents happen at home. Ok. Maybe we could lock them up in some kind of bubble so that nothing could touch them. There you go. I think that would work. Of course, they would not really be able to interact with anyone. They would not be able to go outside and play. They would grow up quite lonely. I guess maybe this is not a good idea, right?
As parents, we all know that our children are going to be hurt at some point in our life. But we want them to live. We want them to have a full life so we try to teach them the best we can, then give them freedom to live and to love. All the while we know that pain and suffering is inevitable. You can’t live a full life without also experiencing pain. So, where is God? Unlike me, He is a Father with the power to stop all evil, doesn’t He? Sure He does so where is He and is He a bad parent?
The problem with the comment above is that it comes from the viewpoint that of the four boys involved, only one was the child of God. Aren’t they all His children? Does He not love each of them the very same-with all of His heart? We look at one child as the victim and the others as perpetrators. God sees them all as His children, hurting and needing help. Let’s consider for a moment what a child must experience or be exposed to in order to do something so horrendous. Maybe he needs help. Oh, I can hear you now cursing me for having compassion for this ‘monster.’ Take it up with the Lord. If He died on the cross for this young boy, then I can have compassion for him. But isn’t it possible that he needs to be removed from some situation? Isn’t it possible that he is suffering from fires unseen?
But what about the parents…those losers! Where were they? What is wrong with them that their kid is like this? I can honestly tell you that I don’t know, but their Heavenly Father does. He has seen the fires set by His children to burn His children? Loving them all, He lets fires burn until the flame is high enough to be seen. No one would agree that a child suddenly plans to do something like this without there being smaller fires left unattended. Now, everything will come to light. Our Father brings everything into the light that those who need help, get it. Those who need healing, receive it.
But what about Kayden? From the little I have read about him, he sounds like complete innocence. And isn’t that who the Devil goes after the most? This is why abortions are so plentiful. This is why so many children are harmed. The Devil gets us to question God when we see the innocent harmed. But I have seen the innocent become the greatest inspiration. In the spiritual battle for the souls of men, they become the most valiant of warriors. The sweetness and innocence that is all over them like the fingerprints of God in a mystical way overwhelms and overshadows the evil done to them as time goes on. I have great confidence that Kayden will fight back the forces of doubt in people’s mind. He will thwart the plans of the enemy with a pure heart. People will say that only God could give power to innocence that overshadows terror.
Let us pray for Kayden. Let us pray for these other boys, their parents, aunts, uncles, friends, and all who are involved. And let us call out to our Father in Heaven who wrestles with the burden of putting out the fires, seen and unseen. Let us submit to His wisdom and love as He works to heal one child without losing the other. He is a Good Father watching all of His children hurt and be hurt and working diligently to save us all.