When Isaiah was about Toby’s age he LOVED the show “Wild Kratts”. And by “love”, I mean he wanted us to call him “Chris Kratt” and would only wear the color green (Because that’s what color Chris wore. Duh.). He soaked up every bit of animal information and quickly built up his repertoire of strange animal facts.
We haven’t spent much time with the Kratt brothers over the past few years, but Isaiah wanted to introduce his little brother to their animal adventures and “creature power” rescues. When I put an episode on the other day, we fully anticipating Toby being enthralled by it, seeing as he not only loves animals, but also typically throws himself into anything that his big brother enjoys.
I didn’t take into account, however, that Toby is reaching the stage when he seems much more aware of good and evil, dark and light, heroes and villains, “good guys and bad guys”. He’s gotten a little more sensitive to things that may be scary or upsetting. Still, I was surprised when he came running into the kitchen mid-episode, declaring that he did NOT like “Wild Kratts” and would NOT watch it anymore.
You see, most episodes introduce some kind of villain that poses a threat to the animals who, without an outside intervention, face the danger of harm, endangerment, or the sentence of extinction. Even the Kratt brothers, who come to the animal’s rescue, often have to put their own lives on the line to save them. And when the seemingly silly villain of this particular episode came onto the television screen, Toby.was.DONE.
“I don’t like that bad guy! I don’t like Wild Kratts – it’s SCARY!”
I’ve seen enough Kratt brother adventures to know that they ALWAYS save the day, the animals are ALWAYS rescued, and the bad guy NEVER wins. I didn’t want my boy to be afraid.
“Buddy, it’s okay. I’ve already seen this one and I promise the bad guy never wins! You don’t have to be afraid.”
And as I heard the words come out of my mouth, I realized how easy they are to say, but how much more difficult they are to live.
In this broken world, there is MUCH we could fear. And with a heavy heart, I admit that it feels very much like the bad guys are winning. Even if I run away from my T.V. or computer screen, I can still see it…
Dirty politicians are winning.
School shootings are winning.
Terrorist attacks are winning.
Divorce is winning.
Cancer is winning.
Scandal and slander and segregation are winning.
Sin and all of it’s ugly consequences are winning.
And my heart and mind can easily and quickly be paralyzed by fear.
But as I’ve reflected on my knee-jerk reaction to my (almost) 4 year old’s fear of “Wild Kratts”, I heard my Father whispering those same words to my heart.
My child, I promise it really will be okay. I know it doesn’t look like it right now, but I’ve already told you the end of the story and the bad guy doesn’t win. I’ve provided your rescue. There’s nothing left to fear.
Isn’t this, after all, the hope and celebration of Easter?
We listened to the lies of the Serpent that questioned God’s love for us and sin won our hearts.
We severed our relationship with God and the curse of sin and death won our sentence.
So, God became man to rescue us…and yet, in His sovereignty, He was tempted and tortured and treated like a criminal.
On Friday, death and that Serpent appeared to have won the battle.
But, Hallelujah! Sunday’s resurrection secured the victory of the war!
And this Easter morning triumph won not only my redemption and freedom and the forgiveness of my sins.
By grace, through faith, it also restored my relationship with the God of the Universe…
“If our greatest treasure – communion with the Living God – is safe, of what can we be afraid?” – Tim Keller
It secured my identity as a child of the Conquering King…
“Hell dances when God’s people are afraid. So I can either add to their revery and stew in my fears down here, or I can bring them to the cross, where God is not spurning them, but hearing them and calming them…God is a loving Father, and not my adversary.” – Molly Piper
“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'” – Romans 8:15
It provided me with a mediator, a perfect intercessor, to go to the Father on my behalf…
“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He IS praying for me.” – Robert Murray M-Cheyne
It promised me a future and an inheritance and gave me a glimpse of the end of the story – the one where the bad guy never wins, my eternity is fixed, and there is nothing left to fear…
“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,
but HE WAS DEFEATED,
and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, ‘NOW the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers HAS BEEN THROWN DOWN, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, REJOICE, O heavens and you who dwell in them!'”
– Revelation 12:7-12
Today we still live in a broken and sinful world. Thus, today may be hard. Today may be scary.
But, take heart! The Lamb has overcome!
And we know how this episode ends.
“I have told you these things, so that IN ME you may have peace. In this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart! I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”
– Jesus (John 16:33)
“The head that once was crowned with thorns
Is crowned with glory now
The Savior knelt to wash our feet
Now at his feet we bow
The One who wore our sin and shame
Now robed in majesty
The radiance of perfect love
Now shines for all to see
The fear that held us now gives way
To Him who is our peace
His final breath upon the cross
Is now alive in me
The tomb where soldiers watched in vain
Was borrowed for three days
His body there would not remain
Our God has robbed the grave
Your name, Your name
To Christ our king
By Your spirit I will rise
From the ashes of defeat
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me
In Your name I come alive
To declare your victory
The resurrected king
Is resurrecting me…”
– “Resurrecting Me” (Elevation Worship)