Today’s Devotional Thought:
“...The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:5b-7
Are you afraid? I admit I am afraid at times. For me it is not a fear for me but a fear for my children. I fear for them because of the world in which they must grow up. I read the news and I fear.
I am not alone in my fears. In 1975, Roger Hart conducted a study on where children felt safe to play. He focused on 86 children between the ages of three to twelve in a small town in Vermont. Hart would follow the kids throughout the day, documenting everywhere the children went by themselves. He then took that information and made physical maps that measured the distance each child was allowed to go by themselves and what the average was for every age group.
Hart discovered that these kids had remarkable freedom. Even four- or five-year-olds, traveled unsupervised throughout their neighborhoods, and by the time they were 10, most of the kids had the run of the entire town. And the kids' parents weren't worried either.
Then several years ago (about 2014), he went back to the same town to document the children of the children that he had originally tracked in the '70s, and when he asked the new generation of kids to show him where they played alone, what he found floored him. Hart said, "They just didn't have very far to take me, just walking around their property." In other words, the huge circle of freedom on the maps had grown tiny.
Hart added, "There is no free range outdoors. Even when the kids are older, parents now say, 'I need to know where you are at all times.'" But what's odd about all of this, is that the town is not more dangerous than it was before. There's literally no more crime today than there was 40 years ago.
So why has the invisible leash between parent and child tightened so much? Hart says it was absolutely clear from his interviews. The reason was fear. Here's the conclusion to his new study: fear of the world outside our door narrows the circle of our lives. [Adapted from NPR, “World with No Fear,” Invisibilia podcast (1-15-15)]
We have become a fearful people and through our fear the circles of our lives have begun to shrink. There may be many reasons for this but the answer for our fear is trust in God. “The Lord is near...” He is no further away today than He ever has been. When we trust Him (even with our children) He still takes away our anxieties to give His peace. It is a peace that guards against fear.
Are you fearful? Why? Trust in God. Bring Him your fears and He will give a peace that transcends understanding. He is still God. He is still in control.
Prayer: Holy Father, You do not change. You are the same today, tomorrow and forever. There is nothing beyond Your power, Your control. Forgive us for our fear, our lack of trust in You. We give You or fears. We lay them at Your cross and proclaim our trust that you are able to protect Your children. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21).