My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (John 17:15)

THE WORLD is a scary place. We may long to get away from it all and go live on some remote island where there are no ungodly influences. If we’re parents, the urgency to find or create that idyllic place is intense. We want to protect our kids from the dangers that surround them. We set parental controls on their cell phones and computers. We monitor the amount of time they spend online and counsel them to choose their friends carefully and prayerfully. But we can’t hover over them every waking moment. We can’t put them on a short leash or in some sort of protective bubble.

Jesus had spent three years pouring himself into His disciples. Now it was time to leave them and to return to His Father. He saw their confusion and fear. He knew it would not be easy to remain faithful to Him in a hostile world where they would be challenged, threatened, and persecuted. But He didn’t ask His Father to take them out of the world. Jesus knew the greatest threat was not the people in the world who would oppose them, but the Evil One who would seek to discourage them, cause them to doubt, and pull them away from the truth He had taught them. Only by the sanctifying power of His Spirit would they be kept safe.

What frightens you most about living in this world? Give your fear to the Lord.

Marlene Bagnull will celebrate fifty-two years of marriage in November with her husband, Paul. They have three grown children and three grandchildren.