A Child’s Witness

A child’s unrestrained unction will test an adults perception of their own boldness. What do I consider bold? I’m a grown man now, and I sometimes think myself bold for sharing my faith in public. My oldest son Abe, who is now 4, is challenging me on this issue. I try to teach my children about God’s character, not just some of them but all of the characteristics of God revealed in scripture. His Holiness, perfection, law, mercy, patience, grace and love, etc. I teach them that Christ came to save sinners from hell and gives the only true hope for eternal life. I have tracts around the house that I bought from Ray Comfort’s Living Waters ministry that challenge people to consider if they think they are good when compared to God’s law. Abe is fascinated with these tracts and asks me to read them to him often. 

Abe talks loudly.  Sometimes he asks questions about the fear of God, death, sin, the unseen and a whole litany of other subjects because we constantly talk about them. My younger boy is starting to do the same, he is about to turn 3. Sometimes these discussions will erupt in public places, recently one did at the local diner. I have to be honest, there is an impulse of the flesh that wants to silence a loud child who is talking of any uncommon subject in public, especially when the subject is about God. Most grown people honestly just don’t want God in their thinking. A lesson I’m learning is that a child who is taught of God will not hesitate to talk about Him aloud, anywhere. As Christ reminds the believer in the scriptures, let the little children come to me. Holy Spirit subdue this flesh that strives to remain passive along with the rest of culture. 

So I find myself asking the question, is this phenomenon a coincidence? Is this not an exceptionally well timed testing of my faith? Here is the reality, my child’s faith challenges me to always be ready to talk to my neighbor about the hope that is in me; I can see this child will not hesitate to bring Him up in public discourse at anytime and in any place. Will I brush my boys’ comments to the side and choose to talk about the whether or will I use them as an opportunity to witness to Christ, teach them in public and proclaim the forgiveness of sins to this world? Lord have mercy, for if I’m honest I’ve probably elected to do the former 9 times out of 10. Not necessarily due to unbelief but most likely due to my own laziness. 

Abe has been invited by a friend from his nursery school to a birthday party. Of his friends from school, this will be Abe’s very first party he attends and he is super excited. He wants to give his pal those gospel tracts as part of his gift. He is super enthusiastic about giving these tracts to his friend because he considers the message contained in there to be good news. Abe has told me that I might need to read them to his friend because he can’t read yet. So my teaching my boy is producing fruit and now opportunity is presenting itself to me in that I have been given an objective witness to my son’s friend’s parents. I am encouraging him to give the tracts and am now praying for boldness to share the gospel at this birthday party when I go with him. I do sense the flesh wanting to object at so many points here, but it must be slayed at every one of them and I will not even give rise to its arguments. God willing, these parents of Abe’s friend will get the gospel through my son’s witness, through me and through those tracts. 

As I reflect on a child’s faith, which both Abe and Caleb are starting to display more and more, they are not quick to hesitate to have God in their thinking or on their lips like most adults are. They are coming to Christ and I can see that Christ doesn’t turn the little ones away. I know this world will certainly challenge them to be silent as it does me, but I better not do such a thing. Just the other day Caleb pointed to the moon when we got out of the car and shouted, “look daddy, God put that there!” I am thankful to see that my children hear me when I speak and understand what I say in the privacy of our home. The duty given to me now is to continue the discussion whenever and wherever we find ourselves, inviting whoever into it. They aren’t afraid to ask questions in my house or in public and I intend to keep it that way. The easy thing to do would be not to give real answers but to silence their inquiries and avoid the work of finding real responses. To hush their excitement. 

As a Christian father, I now see parenting partially designed to help parents grow in the area of witnessing. Will we have faith like a child? Will we be excited to talk about God wherever the opportunity arises? I pray that me and my wife will be enabled to do so by God’s grace, for in this work is wisdom, joy and blessing. 

The Heat is in the Tools

Up here in the frigid northeast, us Yankees and our near neighbors find ourselves in the brunt of winter. Howling winds, piled snow banks, broken shovels, dried skin, salty white roads, large heating bills and comforting hot drinks come to mind. If the constant drumbeat of the hardships that winter bring don’t stir ones desire for spring then the cold drafts that sneak through every hidden crack in your exterior wall making their way under your comfy living room chair might do the trick. Spring is becoming more and more like a dream in this frozen arena. A dream I know I can hope for is a comforting one.

In my mid 30s now, I think it’s safe to say I’m over my obsession with the playfulness of snow. As a married father of two young children and with a more balanced list of priorities, a constant agenda of riding on top of the white fluffy stuff is a thing of the past. Although, I do see opportunity to teach my boys the trade. My oldest (4 years old) has already made it down my slightly sloped back yard on a snow board without falling 2 years in a row now. I’ve mentioned the mountain in passing to him and he can’t wait to go. I laugh when I think about the expressions on his face when I first tried to explain to him what a chair-lift is. If only I could get a painting of the imagery my description produced in his little fruitful mind! I’d probable see something like my living room reclining chair with rocket boosting arms that can fly people up the mountain. Art deserving of a frame for sure.

While I’m ready for spring and seemingly more and more prone to find myself singing along with the anti-winter choir, I can’t help but think I should be feeding my children’s hunger to play in the snow. What an awful pull and at the same time a rewarding task. In my experience as a carpenter who worked through many winters I know what the slogan means that “the heat is in the tools.” Maybe a modified slogan can apply to those with children trying to stave this windy winter, “the heat is in the parenting.”