Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Prayer for our Children - Growing Up with God, plus some Synchronicity

Today's picture is a fake! I could never leave that bread and blackcurrant juice out where the dog could get it... So the real scene only has the empty chalice today - I'm sure you'll forgive me. The story behind today's picture is obviously well known, but if you want to share it with your children you'll find it here. There's another story below my prayer - some kind of synchronicity is going on between these prayers and the way our younger son is thinking...
Lord Jesus, before your disciples had any idea of what you would do for them, you showed them how they could remember and understand it forever. Thank you that you do not wait for us to fully understand you, but that you love us and long for us to come to you, with as little or as much understanding as we already have. Keep our children holding on to you, Lord, as their minds and bodies mature and their understanding of you develops. Don't allow any of us, adults or children, to think that that we know all there is to know about you. Don't allow us to either dismiss you as childish stuff or to believe we have you 'all wrapped up' and have no need to learn more from you. Please bless our children with open minds, positive friendships and good teaching from home and church, so that they grow up with you, and never away from you.



And the little story of yesterday evening, following my posting of yesterday's prayer on the theme of growing up caring and thoughful, is as follows:


Our Son 2 is a hot-headed, imaginative, action-philosopher aged 12. Aren't all children contradictions? He's very wary of God - he finds it almost impossible to make committments, always thinking of the 'what ifs' and the 'but have you considereds' that the rest of us ignore as we rush through life. Last night, very unusually, he told me he worried at night and had bad dreams about natural disasters - he loves reading action and adventure books where the heroes narrowly escape volcanoes, earthquakes, floods etc, but he confided in me that the escapes were basically fiction and that, as a real boy and not the hero of a story, he imagined that he wouldn't have the same incredible last-minute escape if it happened to him. He went on to say that this was one of the things that made him very dubious about God - all this wrath of God through natural disaster. "He's done it four times, as far as I can see," he told me (he loves counting too). I told him I was impressed and ready to listen, so he set off listing Noah, the Plagues of Egypt, Joshua and the genocide as the Children of Israel went into the Holy Land, and "... um.. well, Abraham was his uncle...". Indeed, yes, Lot at Sodom and Gomorrah. How on earth did he know that story, not often covered in Sunday School? The Manga Bible, it transpires...


I'm not going to tell you all my replies - I made a few, but I felt that listening properly was more important than answers at that point. Son 2 went on to explain how, as far as he can see it, humans gain a tiny bit of power and then claim supernatural justification for holding on to and extending that power. He cited Nero, the ancient Greeks and Hitler. He asked why people hadn't sorted Hitler out, "when he was in prison writing books against the Jews". That was my second, "how on earth do you know about that?" moment and he told me: "I just pick things up, they're interesting".


It was all one of those How Do You Top That? moments. It was way past his bed time and he was tired. As always with Son 2, we were left with more questions than answers. But I remembered the prayer I'd posted earlier in the day, and ended the evening praying with him that, "God would show him the good in people as well as the bad". After he'd finished his own prayers he said to me, "What was the second thing you prayed?". I repeated what I'd said and he told me, "I think I do see the good in people too." And I left him thinking on that...


Sorry if you'd like a cut and dried story about how I'd answered all his questions and he'd decided to put his faith in Jesus after all that. Some children are that easy - to be honest Son 1 is. But don't you think it's impressive that God has made Son2s, as well as Son 1s? Life is never going to be boring with them around!


Brenda @ It's A Beautiful Life said...

What a beautiful posting. Thank you for sharing! I believe honest searchings are perfectly acceptable to Him.

I'm reminded of C.S. Lewis's own journey. He was one fellow who took a long time to find Truth, but when he came upon it he knew he'd found it -- that is to say, Him.

We pray you joy and peace.......

Jane and Chris said...

The questions that children pose really make us stop and think. And so they should.
Jane x

Carol said...

Just amazing, what a thought filled post.
I often have a sad thought going back to my school days. One day we were told at school about Darwin (as an aside the teacher was an atheist). I remember coming home and telling my Mum how wrong the Bible was and that we were definitely all just clever apes. I remember she wept.
Carol xx

Carolyn Phillips said...

Thank you, such a thoughtful post. I always think that faith comes as much from facing questions as it does from a childlike acceptance. God made each of our children with their unique personalities and I am sure he is thrilled whatever way they growth to faith.

Angela said...

Thank you for these posts, Floss. Praying for your sons, as I pray for my own daughters.
Bless you all xx

wendz said...

Floss, I haven't read enough of your blog to really 'know' you or your faith or doctrinal beliefs so I may be way off base here....but have you ever had a look at Answers in Genesis?

It is a website devoted to Christian Apologetics and there is a really good section for kids, with questions and answers and all sorts of videos and activities.

I use it for my boys and it has helped them (and me) a eldest is 13 and sounds like your Son 2.