The faith of children is a remarkable and beautiful thing. Often I think I hinder my children's faith more than I strengthen it. Don't misunderstand, I read the Bible with them, take them to church, and help them memorize scripture. I intend to strengthen their faith, but then I act in my flesh and I yell, exasperate, and humiliate them. I'm an imperfect parent. Stop reading now if you only want to hear from an expert. I fail.
Recently, I had an opportunity to guide my youngest daughter to the Lord, so to speak. She's a believer, but I know that even though she's accepted Jesus as her Savior, she's just started on her path towards a lifelong journey to know Him. Here's what happened.
We were on a date at Barnes and Noble, and she found an amazing book that she fell in love with. Happily we read the first three chapters, and she was ready to take the book home with her. There was only one hitch - she didn't have any money! In a flash she solved her dilemma and asked if I had a job she could do to earn the money for the book.
It was at that moment that I saw an opportunity to present a type...a picture of God's character that she could tangibly understand...and I seized it.
I gave her a job beyond her ability.
Does God do this to us? Does He assign us tasks that require so much faith that we know we can only accomplish what He's asked of us with His help?
We have a pantry in our kitchen that is used for storing much more than just food goods. It is the catch all for all kinds of junk. I had given this job to my middle daughter, who had put off the overwhelming task for two months. That's how bad it was.
In giving her this job, I fully intended on helping her, but I wanted to see if she would trust me and try. Sweetly she rolled up her sleeves and got to work.
I supplied her with workers to complete the job.
The minute after she submitted to the job, I informed her that her sister and I would be helping her tame the pantry. If you could only have seen the look of joy that came over her face when she knew she was not alone. But isn't that how good God is? Doesn't He give us encouragement through other believers to work along side us?
Believe it or not, the overwhelming job only took the three of us one hour to complete. We even had a cousin face time in to help us! She was a great cheerleader.
I purchased the reward before she even started the job.
That day at Barnes and Noble I knew she would get the job done because I knew I would help her succeed. Therefore, I could purchase the reward without worrying about her not completing the job.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
The reality that God's gracious gift was purchased for us while we were His enemies humbles me more every day.
I enjoyed the reward with her.
She didn't really want the book. She wanted me to read and enjoy the book with her. We sat down and read the book over the next couple of days. When we hit the last page, she was so sad to see it finished. It was my pleasure to say, "And we can read it again tomorrow."
The reward of salvation is not about our escape from eternal misery, but an invitation to have a relationship with a gracious and generous God.
In the end, I sat her down and revealed the picture that God had allowed me to participate in to her. I wanted her to have a stone of remembrance so to speak. I wanted her to know that even though she was deeply loved by me, the love of God surpassed the love I could offer her.
Ultimately, I think I was the one that was really given the picture. God will call me to difficult tasks that He will equip me to do. I may not be able to see how it will work out until I step out in faith like my sweet little trusting girl. I am so thankful for my little sanctifying children.
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.