Hear this, you elders; give ear, all inhabitants of the land! Has such a thing happened in your days, or in the days of your fathers? Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children to another generation. Joel 1:2-3 ESV
Our son David loves to hear Bible stories. Jonah and the big fish. John eating locusts. And of course, David and Goliath. From these stories he learns God is with him. He learns God will strengthen him. He even learns following God doesn’t mean everything in this life will be easy. I’m thankful for all he learns from reading the Bible.
But I don’t want the stories he’s reading in the Bible to be just like the stories he’s learning in history class, about people who lived long ago and far away, who don’t have much to do with him and what’s happening in his life in 2013. How do I show him God was at work in the lives of Ruth, Elijah, and Peter, and He’s still at work in the lives of Lee, Sandra, David, James, and Joel?
I show him God is still at work in our lives by doing just at the Bible told parents to do thousands of years ago:
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children–how on the day that you stood before the LORD your God at Horeb, the LORD said to me, ‘Gather the people to me, that I may let them hear my words, so that they may learn to fear me all the days that they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children so.’” Deuteronomy 4:9-10 ESV (emphasis mine)
I make known to him what God has done and what God is doing in my life and in our family, church, and community. We look for answers to prayer. We look for blessings from Him. We also don’t hide the hard stuff from him. When we pray at night, we tell him what’s on our hearts and what we’re asking God to do. Then when God answers our prayers and works situations out for our good and His glory, we talk about them again.
“David, we are so thankful God answered our prayer and you have a new brother in China! But getting him home will cost a lot of money. Our entire family is making sacrifices and asking God to provide. Will you pray with us?” Then as He provides, “David, guess what! God used a family in our church to bless us with money that will help bring Joel home! Will you thank God with us?”
When he grows up and doesn’t end everyday with a kiss on the cheek from Mommy, I pray he remembers not only the lessons from the Bible, but also the lessons we learned together. I pray he has his own stories of God working in his life.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he uttered …”
The most important gift you can give your kids at the end of this year is to show them God is still at work. Sit down with them and talk about all God has done in your lives in 2013. Say “Remember when God …” over and over again. And as you transition to 2014, make it an everyday habit.