The following excerpt is from my book, Arrows, Raising Children to Hit Their God-Given Mark. I hope this information helps you walk without the fear of something bad happening to your children. God has given us the help of the Holy Spirit to divert the plans of the enemy against our kids!
Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit
The world watched in horror on September 11, 2001 as our nation sustained one of the most violent terrorist attacks we had ever known. Catching everyone by surprise, a Boeing 767 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center leaving behind a fiery trail of mass destruction. Many who witnessed the deadly collision from the South Tower began a swift exit down the elevators and stairwells. An announcement was made that the South Tower was secure, and it was safe to re- turn to their offices. Some accounts say that at least one third to one half of the people headed back up the stairs to their offices, although many decided to continue their descent and safely got out of the building. No one could have predicted that within minutes another Boeing 767 would tear through the walls of the South Tower, leaving in its wake the death of thousands of innocent people.
On April 16, 2014, a South Korean ferry carrying 476 people—mostly students from a local high school on a field trip— sunk from an overloaded cargo hold. A video from the phone of a teenager who perished showed several students in his room nervously talking and laughing. The ship had begun to lean further and further to the point where they could not stand erect. Announcement after announcement was heard over the intercom instructing the students to remain in their cabins. Only those who disregarded the orders to stay in their rooms managed to make it to the ship’s bridge, and were saved. Over 300 people died, most of them students trapped within the walls of their cabins.
In both of these tragic circumstances, incorrect instructions meant to keep people protected actually contributed to their demise. Many who had a feeling of urgency to leave the “safety” of their offices or cabins—resisting the guidance of well-meaning authorities—were saved. Psalm 91:16 (NKJV) says, “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” God has promised us long life and will warn us about anything that could take us or our children out early. He will clue us in to any imminent dangers that may be coming our way, and provide escape routes to bypass perilous situations. God was clearly speaking during the chaos on September 11 and on the ill-fated journey of the South Korean ferry. Unfortunately, some refused to dial in to what He was saying and they lost their lives.
Many times bad things have happened to us and we’ve responded with any of the following statements: “I knew I wasn’t supposed to go there.” “I had a feeling that something was going to happen.” “I knew I should have been paying better attention.” “I was speeding and I knew I needed to slow down.” “I had a hunch I shouldn’t have been with that per- son.” We minimize these thoughts as “just me” or coincidental, instead of recognizing them as God speaking to us. His words are whispered and simple, and at times we can discount them as not being spiritual enough to be God. Our children need to be aware that in the busyness of life, it is tempting to be schedule-led and not Spirit-led. If they are willing to deviate from their normal plans, many untold tragedies and losses can be prevented. Multitudes of people would be alive today if they would have heeded the gentle nudges from the Holy Spirit. Obeying a random thought like “I should pull in and get some gas” or “a caramel mocha frappuccino sounds good right about now” could have yielded a few precious split seconds to divert them out of the pathway of a drunk driver, or being struck by a lethal brick thrown from an overhead bridge.
We may ask why did “this” bad thing happen? Why didn’t God protect me or my child? Sadly, the reality is that many times God had provided a way of escape for us, but we were not paying attention to His instruction. Although God receives people into Heaven from a tragic accident or disease, it does not mean He takes them. We need not be fearful of the devil but understand that every day of our children’s lives, he will try to bring about choreographed setups to take them out either physically or get them offtrack of their destinies. 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV) says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.”
As parents, we must be serious and watchful for these sudden attacks against our children. When we allow ourselves to be receptive to the Holy Spirit, we can instantly begin to respond in prayer to counteract evil strategies trying to be formed against them. The Holy Spirit may bring about a simple thought or a troubling dream concerning our children’s welfare. Instead of allowing fear and worry to creep in, that is our time to jump into action and pray.
Just last year, I was driving down the road and the thought popped into my mind to pray for my son’s safety. I didn’t feel fearful about it, but I immediately said a simple prayer like “Lord, I pray for Austin’s protection. Give your angels special charge round about him and keep him in all of his ways.” That was it. There was no fanfare or travailing in the Spirit. I kept driving and didn’t think about it again. A couple of hours later, my husband called and said that a high-speed police chase had ensued down the street by our auto repair shop, and the man who was running from the police crashed his truck into the fence and main driveway of our building. Just a few minutes before the accident happened, Austin—who had been working at the shop—exited from that driveway. Did God divert our son from possible harm? Absolutely! Being sensitive to the Holy Spirit that day very well may have spared our son’s life.
There are many excellent scriptures concerning God’s promises for protection. God will certainly give his angels charge (Psalm 91) over our children, but part of His protection could be warning us or our children to not go somewhere, or to not do something. For example, let’s say our child is invited to a sleepover and for whatever reason it doesn’t set right in our hearts. Way down on the inside we don’t feel like our child needs to go. We have an opportunity to respond to that check in our heart instead of making a blanket confession of, “Oh, they’ll be alright. God will keep them safe.” We can’t override the leading of the Holy Spirit with a scripture confession. He is fervently broadcasting the right direction for us and our children’s lives, but it is our responsibility to intercept His instructions and carry them out.
We see the dire consequences of not listening to God’s voice,
"But since you refuse to listen when I call and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand, since you disregard all my advice and do not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you; I will mock when calamity overtakes you—when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you."
—Proverbs 1:24-27 (NIV)
Our foolish rejection of the Lord’s guidance ties His hands from being able to offer His protection and opens us up to the destructive plans of the enemy. Some of us hold God accountable for our tragedies when all along, He was the one wildly waving His arms that a bridge was out ahead. Choosing to recklessly proceed was our decision, in spite of our Father’s passionate pleas to stop and turn around.
Listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance is not mysterious and hit-and-miss. Our children have a sensitivity to the voice of God and we need to help them recognize when God is talking to them. In 1 Samuel 3, God calls to young Samuel in the night and he did not realize who it was. Samuel’s mentor and father figure, Eli the high priest, pointed out that God was speaking to Samuel and simply told him to make himself available to the instructions of the Lord. This is also our role as parents. We should ask our children some of the following questions: “Have you prayed about this?” “What is God saying to you?” “How is He leading you?” “How does your spirit feel?” “Does it feel scratchy inside or do you have a sick feeling?” “Do you feel rushed or pressured to make this decision?” “Do you feel good inside about your choice?” “Do you feel peaceful and at rest in your heart?” We must teach our children to listen to the inner witness of the Holy Spirit and not make quick decisions based on human reasoning. What may seem like an obvious choice may not be the right one. Once our children get older we can be a sounding board for them, but we can’t make every decision for them. I’ve seen God lead my children to do things I may have chosen to do differently. I realized that if I would have insisted on my own thoughts, I may have temporarily stalled the momentum towards their God-given course. It is not always easy, but we must trust God to lead our children. What a joy it is to know they can hear God’s voice just like we do!
Because children are sensitive to the voice of God, we must be mindful to trust their intuition about certain matters. This is especially true in cases when adults ask our children to give them a hug or a kiss. I have witnessed time and again parents pressuring their children to hug or kiss a person, when their child obviously has no interest in doing so. I’ve heard parents scold their children for such reluctance as if they were doing a very bad thing. Kids sometimes have a sense about people before adults do. How many times have we heard about the seemingly normal friend of the family who sexually molested one of the children? If our children are not comfortable with hugging a certain individual, then allow them to shake their hand. As adults, we should also be mindful not to press other children to give us a hug or kiss. These outward physical expressions should be the choice of the child. I may be ridiculed for this, but I also feel the same way about making our children sit on Santa’s lap just for the sake of having a holiday keepsake photo. We’ve all seen pictures of kids who are in a state of trauma on Santa’s lap—bawling their heads off and looking at their parents like “why is this scary guy holding me, and why are you forcing me to stay with him?” Training our children that they must automatically respond to the physical requests from adults could be setting them up for a dangerous scenario.
It is unfortunate, but not everyone (including our own family members) has our child’s best interest at heart. For example, let’s say a long-lost cousin calls to say he is going to be in town for the week on a job assignment and wants to stay at our house. We really don’t know him, but he is a family member and we do recall playing with him a couple of times as a child at family reunions. Because he is “family,” we may mindlessly say “yes” and give him the empty bedroom upstairs right next to our teenage daughter’s bedroom. Another scenario could be that our aunt and uncle, who live on a farm, have invited our children to stay for a couple of weeks in the summer. Before giving an instant “yes,” we should get the mind of the Lord on it. Although our aunt and uncle would probably do them no harm, what about the person who works on the farm that we don’t know? What about the older cousin who drives recklessly (unbeknownst to our uncle and aunt) and would be taking our kids to get ice cream? God knows all of these possibilities and any potential destruction our children could encounter. When it comes to the welfare and safety of our children, we must be keenly aware of what God is saying, even when family members are involved.
Kevin and I have instructed our children that if they are in a life or death situation and the Holy Spirit tells them to do something contradictory to what their authority is saying, they have our permission to override the authority’s directives. As we covered in the beginning of the chapter, those who did not heed the instructions of authority, and went with their gut instinct to get out of the South Tower or head to the boat deck from the sinking ferry, were saved. We have also advised our children to immediately tell us if anyone threatens to kill them or their family members in order to try and abuse them. This is a common tactic from abusers who use fear as a form of control. We don’t want to invoke fear in our children about these things, but we want them to be aware of what our expectations are in those situations.
In Proverbs 1:33 (NIV) we see that heeding the voice of the Spirit of God brings great reward. It says, “But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” God’s protection is sure for our children. They are not sitting ducks waiting for tragedy to strike them. They are neither helpless nor defenseless against the surprise attacks of the enemy to steal from them, kill them, or destroy them (John 10:10). As parents, we should pray for our children to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right people. According to Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) we can ask the Lord to direct our children’s paths as they acknowledge and trust Him with all their hearts and not rely on their own understanding.
Sensitivity to the Holy Spirit strategically places our children in winning positions by bringing them supernatural insight and direction. When they are comfortable in hearing God’s voice, our arrows will have the cutting edge to masterfully glide to exactly where they need to be.