I love kids! I love their perspective on so many issues! Especially on the issues that pertain to the bible and a relationship with God. Over the past 7 years kids have taught me more about how I view my relationship with God then I have learned in the 20 years I have been a Christian. Sure I do my fair share of teaching to my kids, but I don’t want to become filled with pride and think that I cannot learn anything from a kid. Kids have helped teach me the areas I need to relax in, the areas I need to have joy in, the matters that are truly important and reminding me how to approach God.
As my children grow and go through new trials and changes, God always is able to teach me something new about His character, or correct me on a view about Him that I have been conditioned to believe that is not accurate, or how my relationship with Him has similar characteristics like my relationship with my kids.
Most nights in the Wright household, my husband and I put our kids to bed by reading or acting out a bible story and then praying before we give kisses and tell them good night. Our kids usually have some kind of question about the bible story that we gladly answer for them. There are some nights though that my kids have asked some tough questions about God that have challenged me to go deeper in my relationship with God.
On one night in particular we had just finished reading about Peter walking with Jesus on the water. Our kids both had a lot of questions that night. One question was, “how could Peter walk on the water?” My husband answered, “because Jesus gave Peter the power to do it.” I thought that was a good answer! Then another question came, “How come Peter started sinking?” My reply was, “Because Peter got scared and quit trusting God.” I was feeling pretty confident with our answers until my kids asked the last question that took me off guard. “Mom can I walk on water too?”
I know to some people these appear to be typical questions that come from a child. Some would not fret over it and honestly some of them I don’t. My desire is to teach my kids about God and how important it is to have a relationship with Him, that’s why we make reading the bible at night a priority among other things we do and questions are welcomed. However, that night when my kids asked if they could walk on water stopped me in my tracks.
While they looked at me waiting for an answer thoughts were racing through my mind that went something like this. “If I tell them yes, they may go out and try to walk on the water in our creek, or in a swimming pool,” “They still don’t know how to swim that well,” “If I tell them no, then they are going to think the story is not true,” “God’s word is true, and infallible,” I was panicking. Right in the midst of that I heard the Holy Spirit say so clearly, “You think these are just cute bible stories.” I argued in my head, “no I don’t, I know they are real.” The Holy Spirit then says, “Do you really believe they really happened?” My kids were just looking at me waiting for an answer and my son then repeated the question, “Can I walk on water too?” I was wrestling on the inside and I finally blurted out, “Peter did” and I quickly gave kisses and headed out of the room.
I knew my answer was insufficient and I knew I could have just said, “I don’t know,” but it was what the Holy Spirit said to me that shook me. For the past two years I have been praying this prayer every morning before I begin to read God’s word, “Daddy, if there is anything that I have been conditioned to believe that is not true about you, please reveal it to me? I want to know you and not what I have tried to make you out to be.” That night I was shaken because I was not expecting God to show me the inaccuracies of my belief’s through my kids questions.
I recently read a report on a Gallup pole taken from May 2005, May 2006, May 2007 averaging that 1/3 of the American population believed that the bible was the actual word of God and should be taken literally. Just looking at the protestant Christians (I look at this because that is what I am) and out of that group 40% said they believe that the events in the bible recorded actually happened. 48% Believe that the bible is the inspired word of God. 11% Believe that the bible is just ancient fables, history and legends. What?! This blew me away! Although I confess I was in that 48% that night in my kids bedroom. Yes, I believed that God’s word is true and accurate, but I had no idea that deep within myself I believed these stories in the bible were just stories. I had put myself in a dangerous spot that boiled down to the difference of me believing in God vs. believing God.
I had conditioned myself to not believe God. The difference between believing in God vs. believing God is a word called “faith.” One of the definitions of faith in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is; complete trust. When I hear the word “trust” the picture in my mind that always shows up is of a person jumping out of a airplane having full confidence that their parachute is going to open up and give them a safe landing. Another picture that comes to mind is when my kids are tying to jump over this deep crevasse in the creek behind our house that years of water has eroded away. Geometry and physics has proven that they cannot make that jump to the other side, I cannot even make that jump! Although, when there Daddy is standing in the bottom he will always catch them and carry them over to the other side. They trust their Daddy, He loves them too much to drop them or see them get hurt, and he has consistently proven to them that he can be trusted. Because my kids trust their Daddy they can enjoy the thrill of the jump. When they reach the other side they are filled with joy and confidence and the thrill of life, but the even greater thing filling up inside of them is knowing how much there daddy loves them and that they can depend on him.
That night after putting our kids to bed, God showed me the difference between; believing whether Peter really walked on the water vs it being a metaphor for a moral lesson, was my faith in God. I had a decision to make that night, what was I going to put my faith in. If I let logic and the fear of getting the wool pulled over my eyes have the upper hand then I lacked faith in believing Him. If I just believed that everything in that story was a supernatural encounter that really happened, then I was opening the door for my faith to grow. A scripture came to my mind that night of Matthew 18:3 Jesus says : “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. That was it, I was going to have to become like my children and take God at His word. My children will follow my husband and I with a pure abandonment, free from any restraint, because they know we love them and want them to experience the best life possible, so they trust us.
In John 10:10 Jesus says, “I came that they might have life and might have it abundantly.” The key to having that abundant life is to believe that God is the good shepherd who wants the best for you and wants this life to be an adventure for you. You have got to have faith in Him, that God is who He says He is, and God will do what He says He will do. God wants to take each of us to a new place in our relationship with Him, and even when that new place requires a leap of faith, He is standing there in the gap ready to help us get to the other side. You can rely on God, He is constant, unshakable, unchangeable and powerful!
God chose to do something supernatural in Peter that day he walked on the water to get Peter to believe he could trust Jesus, and to take Jesus at his word. Peter learned that day by keeping His eyes fixed on Jesus, not looking at the storm going on around him, but looking at Jesus and taking Him at his word, he was able to experience something out of this world!
So I took a leap! Do I believe Peter really walked on the water? Yes I do! Will my kids be able to walk on water? Maybe, if Jesus wants them to experience something supernatural then He can do that. I later went back and told my kids exactly what I just told you. My kids have not tried to walk on water, but me and my kids have the confidence that says, “God is who He says He is, and God can do what He says He can do.” Since choosing to believe every word in the bible was an actual event I have come alive in a new way, joy and amazement and trust have grown within me, and I am enjoying seeing God with eyes of a child!
I had to humble myself and abandon myself to God in order for me to receive the thrill of being a child! The Gallup pole shows that others will think I am crazy or foolish to believe this way, but they are not who I am looking to please. I want what God has for me, even the things that make me take a leap of trust and renew me and make me feel like a child again! Besides, don’t people spend astronomical amounts of money trying to stay young? Just let God show you how to come to him like a child and you will begin to feel younger, no money required!