“Mama, I’m scared,” intones my three-year old in a half-whine, half-cry as he clings to my legs.
“There’s a dragon in the playroom.”
“A dragon?” I ask incredulously.
“Uh-huh,” he moans.
I bend down to look at those pale blue eyes. I see his pretend fear, only it looks real to me. And so I whisper and hope it goes down deep to his soul, “You don’t have to be afraid.”
And then I ask with a breathless urgency, “Where’s your sword? Let’s go get him!” Together, we hunt for his plastic sabre and then call out like the brave heroes we’re pretending to be: “‘Watch out, dragon! Here we come!’”
This mama is no natural Braveheart. But years of trusting God have taught me that our posture in the world needs to be that of the overcomer. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” it says in Romans 8:31. “In this world, you will have trouble,” says Jesus, “but take heart, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And who could forget those famous rousing words to Joshua, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9)?
How I wish I could tattoo this on his heart! If I could speak anything deep into the core of my little boy as he grows to be a man, it would be this. If God is with you, you need not fear. It’s not that scary things won’t happen. It’s not that you will be immune from hardship or pain. But if God is your friend, you will never face anything alone. If God is with you, you can count on the fact that no matter what evil you encounter, He has already had the ultimate victory. Evil can only go so far and no further. Its days are numbered. I’ve read the end of the story and good wins out.
Oh, how I want him to know that deep down in his bones. Because I want him to enter the world bravely, not as one who must cower back in fear, but one who goes with confidence. I want him to enter the world not as one who goes with the foolish arrogance of impermeability, but as one who goes with courage even in his frailty because he does not walk alone.
When I was younger, I remember being so desperately afraid of the dark. One night when something had roused me from my bed in pure fear, my mom taught me this verse. Yes, she taught it to me in the middle of the night—in the middle of my fear: “Greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world” (1 John 4:4). To this day, when I’m afraid—I mean really afraid, like when I came home to a burglarized house or when we pulled up to a throng of hysterical people blocking our road home from the edge of Congo—when I’m afraid, I still whisper, “Greater is he that is within me, than he that is in the world.”
The dragon in our house keeps re-appearing. Sometimes he’s a dinosaur. Sometimes he’s a bad guy. Sometimes he’s an alligator. I know he will appear in all kinds of forms to my son as he ages. For now, we keep rehearsing, “Don’t be afraid, my son, I’m with you. We stand together.”
Maybe, if we rehearse this often enough, we’ll both learn to play our parts with boldness. Maybe, if we keep practicing standing up to the dragons, we will learn to carry ourselves like the overcomers we are.
No, in our house, dragons will not have the last say. In our house, dragons are the ones who must flee.
Maybe all of us could use a little rehearsing.
Like what you’re reading? Consider subscribing to get these posts to your inbox and also check out my book for expectant moms: Waiting in Wonder: Growing in Faith While You’re Expecting, a perfect gift for any expecting mom you know. You can read an excerpt of the book here. And find out what writers like Ann Voskamp are saying about the book. Or if you’d like to read similar posts to this, check out “The Interrupted Life,” “Embrace Your Season” and “Not Enough“. Thanks for reading and sharing with your friends.