During these closing weeks of the summer, many of us are focusing especially on the children in our lives. School is starting, and we are longing for a rich year of learning, love, and acceptance…good friends, caring teachers, and adults in their young, vulnerable lives. And our wish list for them and prayer list on their behalf go on and on.
So whether a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, teacher or caring friend, this is for you. I know it can be easy to discount or forget the glorious potential in those little lives that we love and care about.
First posted in August 2015:
“Respect the Holy Spirit in other believers…including your children.”
Such was God’s message to me years ago when I was raising my precious son and darling daughter.
When each of them came to saving faith, I was surprised by the immediate evidence of the Spirit in each of their young lives. With Jeremy, it was his hunger for God’s word through his Bible storybook; with Beth, her desire to knock on the doors of our neighbors to tell them about Jesus.
I’m not sure why this should be surprising. After all, the Spirit of God lives within every believer, no matter how young or how old. Each of them is a sanctuary of God, a Holy of Holies, a dwelling place of the Divine. Even in the midst of the human developmental stages of life, while still being children, God is there.
Many times in the Scriptures, we read of the Spirit of God working dramatically, mightily, profoundly in, and through young people. Moses realized at a young age that he would be Israel’s deliverer. Young Samuel heard the Lord and received his call as a child. John the Baptist leaped for joy in his mother’s womb. And there are others.
You might wonder why this has come to my mind now in the midst of the summer. Well, these weeks in Delaware, as God’s delay unfolded and played out, I’ve spent lots of time with my grandsons, especially my oldest Kaden.
Kaden was just three years old when his Air Force dad was deployed overseas for six months. So our daughter Beth packed up Kaden, dog, and stuff and moved to Ohio to stay with us for the duration. Of course, this Babci was thrilled! Lots of real-life guts, glory, and grace were up ahead. And so we settled in.
It was during that time that I was teaching a ladies’ Bible class in the letter to the Hebrews. As I packed up my Bible and notebook the first week, Kaden asked me where I was going. When I told him that I was going to teach a Bible study, he replied, “When I grow up, I’m going to do that!”
And week by week, little three-year-old Kaden would remind me of his ambition to be a Bible teacher too when he grew up.
Little did he know that he didn’t have to wait to be “grown-up” to be a Bible teacher. Since I gave Kaden a “Bible Reading Challenge” almost a year ago, we have had awesome discussions ranging from Creation to the meaning of the Trinity to the Resurrection of Christ to Paul’s missionary journeys to the book of Revelation and everything in between. The amazing thing is that this “spiritual adult in a 9-year-old body” remembers everything he reads and explores in a simple way some of the most profound truths of Scripture.
For instance, before baseball camp started a few weeks ago, we were talking about how much easier it was to start a new thing in a new place when you know someone. Then I said that even if you had to go alone, God is with you.
Kaden thought for a moment and replied, face all aglow, “So then you always really do know Someone, don’t you.”
So for a week, as we drove together to and from baseball camp, conversations would take a turn from Minecraft and Pokemon to beautifully simple, child-like, faith-filled questions and realizations.
Finally, one day after such truly amazing discussions, as I dropped Kaden off and said goodbye, I was overcome by the manifestation of the Spirit in that precious young life. I had to just sit there awhile as I sobbed. I felt as though I had encountered a burning bush, a holy of holies,all in the person of my nine-year-old grandson.
What about you, dear mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, teacher, aunt, friend? Do you have the honor of caring for a child? Do you respect the Holy Spirit in your believing child’s life?
You have a sanctuary, a Holy of Holies in your midst.
Yes, there is human development going on…with all the guts and glory that entails. But don’t discount the Lord’s working in their young lives. In fact, why not learn from that profound simplicity of truth through the lips of a child who loves his Redeemer?
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on A Branch in the Vine