Sunday night my husband and I spent four hours in the emergency room with our four year old son.
He had been in the garage with us when it started to hail outside. He was watching, and ran to the edge of the garage, not noticing the floor was wet. He slipped and landed on his back, hitting his head pretty hard. About an hour later he started getting more upset and started throwing up so we threw some stuff in a bag, put out a prayer request on Facebook, and headed to the hospital, which is only 5 minutes away.
While there, Josiah had to have a C.T. scan as well as an I.V. He did great with both. Some big tears with the I.V. but he stayed very still. Then there was a lot of waiting. He asked periodically if he could “take this thing out” but he never cried or tried to take it out himself.
When we finally got home that night and into bed (of course I let him fall asleep with me!) it was after midnight. What a day! It was time for rest, but one more thing had to be done.
I told Josiah that before we went to the hospital I had sent a message to a whole bunch of our friends asking them to pray for him. I said “They all prayed for you while you were being taken care of at the hospital.”
“And do you know what?” I said
“What?” he asked softly
“God answered all of their prayers. He told the doctors how to help you. And he gave you the patience and self control to lay very still when they were taking pictures of your head. And he gave you the courage to be still again when they put the “straw” (that’s what the nurse called the IV needle) in your arm. I know that hurt you a little bit, and God was with you. And God helped the medicine work so you would stop throwing up and you could go home.”
I then said a prayer thanking God for these things and asking for a sweet rest for Josiah and a better day tomorrow.
Josiah gave me a sweet, satisfied smile and went right to sleep.
Did I mention it was after midnight when we fell into the bed? I know I mentioned that he went right to sleep, he was a very tired boy.
We could have just come home, gone to bed, and been done with the whole thing. But that would have been tragic.
God’s hand was clearly active in my little boy’s life last night. But my four year old wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t told him.
How would he have known that people were praying for him? Would he have made the connection on his own that God had given him the courage to sit still while they placed an IV in his arm? I don’t think so. I think my son’s perception of that event, had we not intentionally illuminated God’s work, would have been “OK, that was not fun, I’m glad it’s over”. Instead, his perspective is “Wow, God is good. He gives me friends who pray for me and he answers those prayers.”
Now that’s worth a mild concussion and four hours in the E.R. (And who knows how much money!) A faith that came by hearing.
The Bible tells us that we must teach our children about God’s work in our lives. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “faith is more caught than taught”. (More on that next week). I’m not sure who decided that, because what I see over and over again in scripture is people being taught, quite intentionally, about God, his will, and his works. Jesus didn’t just go about living a good life, setting a good example. If anyone’s example could produce faith in another, it would be his. But Jesus taught. Very intentionally, very specifically, and very personally. He taught people in terms that they could relate to. That’s what I want to do for my kids.
Do you feel comfortable leaving your kids’ faith to whatever they happen to find for themselves or see in your example? I don’t. Let’s commit to using every opportunity we have to “Tell of all his wonderful acts” (1 Chronicles 16:9a)
We have to tell our children what we are experiencing and how God is working.
- Are you afraid? Why not let your children see you give your fears to God?
- Are you burdened? Let your children watch you choose God’s way for your life.
- Why do you always tell the truth, try your best, serve people in need, take care of your body, guard what you watch on TV, and go to church? Tell your children.
- Did you receive a blessing? (Be careful here, we’re not talking about big, out of the ordinary things, we’re talking food on the table.) Look up Deuteronomy 6:10 and live it.
- Do we point out good results from following God’s way? Learn the Proverbs with your children and point out when one of the principles is proven in their lives.
Take advantage of those teachable moments. Tell your children of the times when God has worked miracles in your life. Tell them why you believe. Tell them that you trust God even when you don’t understand what he’s doing. Teach them about God.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts. (Psalm 145: 4)
Do you have a similar story of a time when you’ve seen faith come alive in your child after helping them see something God has done? Share with us, because we adults need to hear it too!