My Dear Daughter,

I was hoping that this day would be far, far away.  I was hoping that we wouldn't have this conversation for a few more years when you are "bigger bigger".  Maybe five years old, or even six. I love your warm smile, your trusting heart, your tender emotions, and your guileless spirit.  Even when you are naughty and need to be corrected, there's a sweet innocence about you.  That innocence is precious to me, and I want to preserve it for as along as I can!

But as your father, I must tell you something.

It's a big, bad world out there.

Remember the snake?  The Enemy?  Sin?  The world is under the power of sin, which leads to death and destruction.  Most people in the world are slaves to the Enemy.  That means that they do bad things.

It's a big, bad world out there.

You've already experienced some of this badness.  You've seen glimpses of death in Bible story books, and the opening montage of the movie UP.  (Which, by the way, was a mistake to show you - please forgive me!)  You've experienced sin when Mommy or Daddy get cross with you, and need to apologize and repent.

And recently, you've experienced abandonment - though I don't know if you comprehended it as such.  The neighbor girl went inside her house, and told you that she would be "right back".  Perhaps it was a misunderstanding.  Or perhaps she simply forgot. Maybe she had no intention of coming "right back" outside to you.  But that didn't stop you from patiently waiting outside the front door for ten minutes.

That did it.  That broke my heart.

That broke my heart because I know it won't be the last time that you are stood up and disappointed by others.  I know what is in the heart of man, and it is full of broken promises, selfish desire, wickedness, and weakness.  As you grow older, you will be a witness to the fallen world, and experience the sin of others toward you.

And what's more, you will find that your own heart is disposed to selfishness.  It's not just a big, bad world "out there", it's a bad world inside your heart.

That's why Mommy and Daddy are always talking to you about Jesus.  He fixes our bad hearts, and replaces selfishness with love.  He is our hope in the midst of a world under the influence of the Enemy.  And He is the one who satisfies us and gives us everything that we need.  Especially when we are abandoned.   He is the one who teaches us how to forgive as He forgave, to love as He loved, to serve as He served.

My prayer and desire for you is that you would learn how to face the big, bad world with the victory, life, and joy of Jesus Christ.    I want you to see the sad reality of sin and its effects, and then cling to the Gospel reality of Christ's death and resurrection!  I want you to know the power of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, and to shine as a light.

It's a big, bad world out there.  But be of good cheer my daughter - Jesus has overcome the world.