This devotional post is a guest submission by Matt Guevara. Matt is the Executive Director at the International Network of Children’s Ministry (INCM.org), children’s and family ministry leader, author, and kidmin coach. Matt currently lives in Illinois.
guest post by Matt Guevara
We protect things.
Have you ever felt the urge to stand in front of someone – to protect them? Your own child, family member, a teammate, friend – I’m not talking about social media affrontery or posturing, but physically protecting something or someone. Your heart rate rises. Your muscles tense. You sense someone or something coming closer – and you have become armor for whatever you are protecting.
We see this moment in films all the time. The hero shouts to family, “Get behind me.” The wizard declares to the Balrog, “You shall not pass.” The president delivers the speech about protecting freedom. Thanks Bill Pullman, we all need to hear that speech, forever.
Protecting something is primal – it is instinct. Whether you are a baby (ever try to pull a baby’s thumb out of their mouth?) Or a parent (they call her “mama bear” for a reason).
Consider the two young California sisters who wrote down hundreds of life rules in a journal. Rules like:
Act in a mature way with self control and respect others (Rule 144).
No pushing and don’t bite the dentist (Rule 157).
Don’t color in this rule book.
One day these young girls lost their book of rules while shopping at Walmart and a woman picked it up. Paging through the rules held within, number 154 stuck out: Protect this book.
Protect this book. Can you hear the children whisper this to each other?
It’s funny, it took 153 rules down on paper for the kids to realize they had something worth protecting. Rule #1, no big deal. This is just a fun project. Rule #100, hey now we’re getting somewhere. Rule #153, wait a second. What happens when this book is discovered? Mom’s going to read this. Get the marker – GET THE MARKER NOW: Rule #154: protect this book.
What’s you’re rule #153 moment? We rush to protect the things we love, the things we work on. I wonder – how might this instinct be a reflection of the protection from God Himself? It didn’t take long in the story of Scripture for God to promise His enduring presence: I will be with you. Giving signs of His covenant and promise. A rainbow. Worship at the mountain. David, who sang to God his “shield” and “place of refuge.” Jesus, whose love and protection brought Him to the cross to shed His blood on our behalf, Jesus who stood in our place. The hero who stands in front of our accuser and shows the nail-scarred hands and whispers to us, “Get behind me.” Jesus who reminded his disciples, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
We Protect Things. He Protects Us.