Back Off, Jack

A friend and I were comparing signs of how our children are growing up and branching out into adulthood. He talked about the choosing-a-college process and the decision-making skills that his son is cultivating. I talked about the moments when my daughter walks and speaks her faith in Jesus in front of me, about how it grows me as much it grows her.

One of my Bible study teachers told us a story about her friend in Louisiana, a heavyset African American woman who loved Jesus with all her heart. This lady used to sing back-up for Celine Dion, so you can imagine the timbre of her voice. She’d walk into a house, and if she felt demonic influence, she’d stick out her arm (like the “Stop in the Name of Love” move) and say loudly “Back off, Jack!”

In October of her kindergarten year, before we began to homeschool, Cami’s public school classroom Halloween celebrations and stories caught my girl’s attention, and not in a good way. At home in our townhouse, Cami would get spooked if the lights were off upstairs and she had to go up there. She’d come running back down, saying, “Mommy, I think there’s something bad up there. I’m scared.”

So I told her the story I’d heard in Bible study. I told her that Jesus loved her and protected her. She didn’t have to be afraid because Jesus was with her, and that when Satan tried to scare her, she just needed to tell him to back off, to go away.

So she did. She stuck her little hand out and yelled, “Back off, Jack!” Then we turned on the lights, went upstairs together, and went on about our business.

We’d been talking about how Satan tries to trick our hearts. He tries to tell us that we’re bad and stupid and ugly, and we can’t do anything right.

But God’s Word says the opposite of those accusations. Psalm 139 says that God made each one of us, and He made us all in a wonderful way. He doesn’t make stupid things, or worthless things, or unredeemable things. He formed us in our mothers’ wombs, crafting the bodies we have just the way He wanted to.

And He delights to watch us walk through our days. There’s nowhere that we can go where God isn’t. He has ordained—planned out, purposed, already made provision for—every day of our lives. He’s written every one of them down in His Book before we were ever born.

Cami and I didn’t have this conversation all at once, or even just one time. We talked about how much God loves us and treasures us over and over and over. As she struggled with her fear of the dark, I gave her the only answer I knew: Jesus and a light switch.

Soon after that, with simple sweet faith, Cami prayed at bedtime:

“Dear God, I love you, and I’ll love you no matter what. Sometimes the debil tries to trick my heart, but I just tell him ‘Back off, Jack.’ Amen.”

Amen.

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