By Dannah Gresh, founder of True Girl
In the early days of the pandemic, I saw a video of a tween girl weeping.
She was on a sofa in her living room, watching the news. As she witnessed what was happening around the world, she was overcome with genuine sadness and began to weep. There was nothing staged about it. Genuine grief over what was happening rose up in her heart. It was uncommonly innocent and pure.
I suspect that's what made her mother grab her phone and capture the moment.
Her tears quickly turned to intercession as she urged her mother to pray with her.
“From the mouths of babes!”
These past few weeks, I’ve been encouraging you to join the Cry Out! Prayer Challenge issued by our partnering ministry Revive Our Hearts. I’ve also been asking you to use it as a training tool for your True Girl. This week, I’d like to ask you to give her permission to cry about what’s happening in our world.
As I’ve been pressing into the prayer challenge this month, I am surprised at the number of verses in our daily devotions that urge us to “cry out.” And I think that’s literal.
Do you think if we did that as a regular part of our faith experience it wouldn't seem so unusual when we see one tween girl do it? Is it possible that we train our children out of a righteous and holy response to sin, brokenness, and evil in our world? We often rush to tell them “it’s all going to be ok” and wipe away tears of fear. Is that the right thing to do, or should we be nurturing their sensitivity to cry over the things that break God’s heart?
The book of Habakkuk is a lament about the broken condition of the world.
I think this prophet probably had the heart of that girl I saw on social media. His heart easily cried out to God. And it was emotional.
As our nation careens towards an election and both sides of the aisle feel frustrated with leadership, I can't help but see all the parallels in the book of Habakkuk.
Can I share one that might motivate us to unleash tears in our children?
Though not all scholars agree, many believe that Habakkuk began his ministry during King Josiah’s final years, then wrote his message during the reign of King Josiah's son, Jehoiakim (who was not only a very poor leader, but an evil one).
In the history of the Jews, it's rare to find a king who obeyed God completely. Josiah stands out as a glaring exception. He was only eight years old when he began to reign, so was likely guided by godly influences for the beginning of his rule. By the time he was 26, he decided to repair the temple of God. During the repairs, something was discovered that had been long forgotten. It was found in the rubble and dust of the clean up.
It’s believed that Josiah found either the book of Deuteronomy or Jeremiah.
With just one reading of God’s Word, his heart was broken. He tore his robes in despair and wept when he realized that the nation was not obeying God.
Many people today own Bibles, but they're unaffected when they read them. Every time we open our own, it should cause us to take immediate action to reform our lives. It should also be the catalyst that causes tears to burn our eyes when we see sin and evil in our world.
Let me point this out: Josiah was a child when he began to reign and someone—his mother or grandmother, perhaps—kept his heart soft towards God. Innocent enough to weep and cry out authentic tears.
May we be the mothers and grandmothers who keep our children and grandchildren soft towards God.
May we give them permission to cry out to Him not because they are told to, but because their hearts are poised to do it naturally.
And, the next time you open your Bible, ask God how He wants you to respond and reform your life. Give Him permission to break your heart with the things that break His.
I invite you, once again, to join me in the Revive Our Hearts Cry Out! Prayer Challenge. If you’ve been reading my weekly challenges, you know that I’m eager to have our daughters praying with us. This week, talk to your True Girl about how important it is to grieve over the things that grieve the heart of God. Give her permission to cry.
Our True Girl theme verse:
"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32
Mom, the best way to teach your daughter to live like an authentic True Girl is to live like an authentic True Woman. And to do that, you've got to get your life lined up with the Truth of the Bible. Listen to Dannah Gresh every weekday on Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth's Revive Our Hearts podcast. The program features biblical teaching, interviews that offer godly advice, and other opportunities to abide in God's Word.