Friday, January 14, 2011

On Children & Faith

A couple of nights ago I discovered the family blog of fellow ABWE missionaries in Papua New Guinea. I was deeply interested in catching up with their life and family, as the last news I had of them was extremely sorrowful. Two and a half years ago their 4 1/2 year old son, Tyler, died tragically and utterly unexpectedly of complications to Kawasaki's disease. I wrote of it on my blog at the time.

Since then the Lord has blessed them with another baby boy, but their family is and forever will be marked by the loss of their firstborn son. In a post about their daughter Kate's baptism, her mom Amy wrote:
Children are a precious treasure from the Lord. Their lives are not something we should take lightly. Deuteronomy 6:7 says, "You shall teach them (God's commandments, statutes, and judgments) diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up." Simply put, we should teach our kids the Word of God all the time. Those four times mentioned really give no room for a break, so we shouldn't be lazy about it. I don't know what the Lord has in store for the lives of my three kids left here on earth. I'm thankful that Tyler is safe and secure in the arms of Jesus. But for my three remaining, a huge task awaits me and Dan. I'm so thankful for my little treasures and hope and pray I can follow God's command and rear them solely for His service.

Too many times I see parents putting other things before their kids, and it saddens me deeply. For a parent who is living without a child, these times feel like a slap in the face. Kate is young, but she understands. It is all black and white to her right now. Please don't be too busy for your precious ones. If we don't seize the opportunities God gives us now, we will never get them back.
I shed tears reading Amy's thoughts. At lunchtime the next day her challenge was still heavy on my heart and so I rejoiced when the conversation with our three older children somehow shifted into spiritual matters. Pedro has been reading Randy Alcorn's book on Heaven and he shared with the kids some thoughts from it. Our girls accepted Christ as their Savior a few years ago and my prayer has always been that those decisions would be real and their relationship with God would blossom into spiritual maturity.

At the same time, I pray consistently for the salvation of our three sons. On two occasions I have been told secondhand that Owen asked Jesus to be his Savior - once while at the home of an MK friend, and recently after a Sunday School lesson at church - but he has never spoken to us specifically about it, and I have not wanted to pressure a decision that he needs to clearly understand and make with his own heart.

During our conversation over lunch, however, he was able to answer our questions and articulate his simple faith: that he recognized his sin, how it separated him from God, and that he asked Jesus to save him. I am overcome with gratitude for God's work in my children's lives!

Often I become overwhelmed by my own shortcomings as a mother, especially in this area of training my children in godliness. I make so many mistakes! Yet thanks be to God for His grace which covers my errors and reaches my children's hearts despite my failures. May I continue to be faithful and rest in the One who never fails. Amen!

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