“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13
Last night at dinner we had the most wonderful conversation about faith with our children. We had been talking about how most kids fall into the trap of just agreeing with the faith of their parents only to find that they never had ownership of that faith themselves. Many children as well as adults tend to go through the motions of religion just because the things they have been taught as true act as a security blanket which makes them feel they are closer to God, and yet they have no real connection with Him in the form of the type of relationship Jesus had told His disciples they could have with Him and the Father – that of a friendship – a mutual bond.
In our conversation I was very frank with my children and told them I wanted them to question their faith and make it real for themselves just as I had done when I was younger. For me, I had always felt an uneasy feeling about the religious practices of my parents which in turn created great contradictions in my spirit. Those questionings in my heart led to me to a time of rejecting God completely from my life and living in a very dark and evil place. But, when light was finally shed into m life, the real light of Jesus and not the artificial light manufactured by many made religious observances, I knew that it was what I had been searching for.
The first inkling of real truth I remember grasping onto was that God was a god of grace and that I was completely redeemed by the price Jesus paid for me – mind you, the dark and evil place He was pulling me out of left many scars on my heart and also with hands dripping with the guilt from my past sinful choices. From there on as I continued searching, God continued revealing Himself to me in ways which now are the bedrock of my faith – solid manifestations of our continuing relationship that grow with each new day I spend with Him and trust in Him to do what He has told me He will do.
I know full well that each of my children will come to rest in the type of faith I have in the Lord if they open their hearts to Him and allow Him to make Himself real and faithful. For my oldest, he has had some experiences already in his past that have brought him to moments which Henry Blackaby refers to as “crisis of belief” - those things which put your faith on the limb and you must either choose to believe what God has asked you to believe and step out into the unknown trusting your step will fall on a solid path even though you cannot see it OR believe only in what you can see, feel, and is comfortable and deny God the ability to confirm His Himself to be able to provide beyond what your senses tell you are true.
My job as a parent is not to force my hand to make my children more obedient in their religious observations, but rather live my faith in such an enticing and real way that they desire with all their hearts to have what I have and then to pray that they will have softened and open hearts to God and a real and vibrant relationship with Him. The one thing I hate to think is that any one of my children would need to walk as far away from the Lord as I did in order to have a heart softened enough to be mold-able by God. But then again, it would be far worse in my mind to see my children live happy and prosperous lives and not acknowledge the Lord in their hearts and in their lives which would then lead into eternal separation from God.
As the verse above states, it takes the teaching of the Lord in the life of a child (you notice it does not say parent) to bring a child to a place of great peace. If you are a parent, I would suggest you put into check today those things the Lord is trying to teach your children which you are not allowing because you want to protect them - praying for the Lord to bring protection over your children is far more comprehensive of a protection plan you can have in place for your children anyways – and then allow the Lord to use you to help Him teach your child about who He wants to be to them – their friend.