When acts of terrorism occur, it feels like the entire world reacts. I remember how I used to react to such things – with sorrow, feeling for the victims and community that it touched directly, and wishing that such situations did not need to exist in our world. But when you have a child, it becomes much more complicated.
When the attack on Charlie Hebdo took place last week – and also when countless other tragedies have happened in the first 7 months of my daughter’s life – it has rattled me more. It makes me stop and consider the state of the world we live in. It makes me wonder what this world will look like in a couple decades, when the world belongs to Olivia and her generation. It makes me look at my daughter’s innocence with heartache, simply hoping she can hold on to that wonder for as long as possible.
It won’t be long until that little girl will begin asking questions. She will start to see or hear things in the world, and with curiosity, will ask her mommy or daddy what those things mean. I think of situations like this and have no idea how I will ever explain to her how this type of thing could happen, why it happens, or what it means. I don’t know how to teach her that our human rights include the right to express ourselves and to stand firmly for what we believe, yet to do so in a way that is not harmful to others. I don’t know how to teach her how the world works.
After facing these thoughts, contemplating how I can handle these situations, something becomes painfully clear to me – I do not have all the answers. There is beauty in this realization though, and that is that God doesn’t expect me to know everything. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3: 5-6. It isn’t up to my own wisdom, and that is a fantastic thing.
So, I will lean on God and on His understanding. My job as father isn’t to answer and fix everything for my daughter; my job as her father is to teach her, to set the example for what it means to follow Jesus, and to point her to God in all things. It’s in Him that we find peace and understanding, not in ourselves.