The Chronicles

A Record of Times

I’m Not Called to Keep My Kids from Danger

Posted on | November 14, 2017 | No Comments

I can’t keep my kids safe. But I can prepare them for a life of faithfulness.

Fifteen years ago, my husband and I did the riskiest thing we could imagine and took a job in the Horn of Africa. People often responded by asking, “Are you bringing the kids?” We had two-year-old twins at the time.

Six years before we made this life-changing decision to move, we heard John Piper preach a sermon on Hebrews 13:12–14 and how Jesus suffers “outside the city gate in order to sanctify the people by his own blood” (NRSV). The writer of Hebrews calls Christians to “go to him outside the camp.”

Piper boiled it down to one particular refrain that served as a powerful catalyst for our family. “Must it not mean for many of us: Leave the camp! Leave the camp!” he said. “Leave the comfortable Bethlehem camp. Leave the comfortable Minneapolis camp. Leave the comfortable, secure job and join Jesus on the Calvary road moving toward need, not comfort.”

In a recent essay titled “Risk Your Kids for the Kingdom?,” Piper asks a related question that my husband and I asked ourselves when we decided to move to North Africa: “What is the greatest good you can do for your children?” We believed strongly that “moving toward need” was one of the greatest goods we could do for them.

Yes, of course, we were bringing the kids.

By choosing to take our kids outside the camp, however, we also chose a life of risk. The camp referenced in Hebrews 13 is located inside the city gates where everything is familiar, safe, and comfortable. Outside the camp, where Jesus went, was a place of shame, death, abandonment, and pain.

For us, moving “outside the camp” meant contending with guns, limited government, lack of healthcare, and low-quality …

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