Justin's teacher was talking about failing him. He was well behind his classmates in reading, so I was tutoring him. But our time together was not very productive; Justin wasn't very focused, and we simply weren't making progress in improving his performance. I was frustrated -- but also very sympathetic. Justin was in an extremely difficult classroom environment. His teacher ridiculed him. I would find myself thinking, "Of course he's fearful and not focused; look what's happening to him in class!"
One time after such sympathizing, it struck me forcibly that I had forgotten something I believed most profoundly: that this was God's child, and that God was in control of him. I remembered God loved Justin. And God's love was of such power and presence as to shield this boy completely from any attack. I prayed with these ideas for about half an hour. I was by now no longer thinking of Justin as vulnerable or as a victim of forces beyond control, but as always secure because he was in God's care.
The next time Justin and I worked together, a change in his behavior was not only evident but dramatic. He was on track in accomplishing his work and thinking appropriately. And from that point until the end of the tutorial, he made fine progress. In the fall Justin went to a new school, promoted to the next grade. His former teacher's contract was not renewed.
All children are at some point on their own in the world. And the world today often seems dangerous. We can't always be there to look out for them, but we can always pray for the children.
As the Bible records, Jesus spoke of God as his Father and our Father. We can pray to recognize that God is the Father (and Mother) of each child. His fathering and mothering are infinite. His love is specific, direct, and one-to-one. God is able to make that love tangible, communicating to each child the love that is needed, the wisdom to make right choices, and a conscious sense of individual worth. Not one child, young or old, is left out of this parenting.
When God observed His creation, He declared that it was all "very good" (see Genesis 1:31). We can find in our prayers that God's children are by nature good, and thus naturally attracted to good alone. Each child's goodness is from God, and it is continuously protected and nurtured.
Once Christ Jesus, the Son of God, was teaching his disciples. He used the lowly sparrows, which were of little monetary value, to make a point (see Matthew 10:29-31). He assured them that not even one of the sparrows could fall without the Father's knowing. Then he said, "Ye are of more value than many sparrows." This same Father is caring for each of the world's children! Not one can be forgotten, unknown, or insignificant.
When the news about children is disturbing, the message of the Bible story of Hagar and her young son can be helpful (see Genesis 21:9-20). The two of them were sent away into the desert wilderness. When their water supply was gone, Hagar cried out in great despair, certain that her child would die. At that point an angel (an inspired thought from God) called to her, "Fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is" (verse 17). And God opened Hagar's eyes; she saw a well of water, apparently there all along but unseen by her in her grief and fear. Her son was saved and grew to manhood. The message here is that God always hears His children, wherever they are, and supplies whatever they need.
Like Hagar, we can receive angel messages from God that will open our eyes and help us to know what we can do. There may or may not be particular steps we can take as individuals. But our prayers are always important. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book by the woman who discovered Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, says this: "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, -- a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love" (p. 1). Through such prayer, we can trust the children to God.