Christian parents have it tough. We don't just want to raise decent, moral, caring human beings; we want to raise Christ lovers who will pick up their cross & follow after Him who has called them by name.
To that end we pray for our children, with our children & about our children. We take them to Sunday school & to church. We send them to bible camp & youth group. We teach them memory verses & catechism questions, the standard creeds of the faith. We say grace at meals, bedtime prayers, family devotions. We talk with them about the things of Christ ~ all of this in the hope that it will be enough, that somehow they will love where we love & that God will become vibrant & real to them. I've lost track of the grief & heartache I've witnessed as the children of Christian parents reach maturity, turn their backs on the faith & walk away from everything they've been taught. It is devestating.
I have been both the child who walked away & the parent who grieved & I have done a lot of thinking about this. We do everything we can, everything we know. We spend hours in our prayer closet in prayer & still we lose our children to the world at a phenomenal & ever growing rate. We never even know we have a problem until it is too late because while they are young & under our roof, under our covenant, they are protected & biddable ~ then they reach their majority, move beyond our authority & the ugly truth is revealed.
Some of it is genetic. Stubborn strong~willed parents are not going to produce gentle, pliable children ~ not as a rule. Some of it is just the old sin nature at work. Some of it is simply we have taught our children about Christ, rather than introducing them to Christ. Some of it is generational curses & some of it is downright spiritual warfare & even after all I've learnt I still get gaught by this one because I just never ever think we are that important! In truth we're not but because we're Christ's Satan will happily use us to hurt the Father. I know this. I have seen it in action over & over. More devestatingly they have looked at us, looked at the church & gone Yuck!
Most of mine are big now. We cover the spectrum from the full blown aethiest to the mission oriented. I know the joy of discussing Christ with children who also know & love Him, who are walking in The Way, immersing themselves in the scriptures & over the years each has expressed the same concernes:
The church is soft
Why doesn't the church teach on these things?
Where is the power of God?
How can I know God?
For each, as they have struggled for a mature faith, they have been apalled by the discrepency of what the scriptures teach as to how the church is. I understand. How can we, as the people of the Living God, sit through three hymns, a short inercessory prayer & a 3 point sermon week after week & never once expect the Spirit of God to move through the congregation, ignite the people with His power & passion, set us alight?!
Dino, who has just come out of his first full on fast & touched the edges of walking close with God, once asked me, "But why didn't you talk to us about these things when we were growing up?" Because I didn't know then! No~one taught me. As I have learnt, so have I shared. I warn my children, " It will cost you everything." I have passionate children. They're not interested in half measures.
Now Dino is starting to understand just how difficult this all is. A little tentatively, because it is all new & he is unsure, he came to me & said, " I didn't get anything...I just asked God to show me what it all means". And then he added, "But we have to wait....the timing's not right". I grinned at him. You got something, I said. That is what I have been getting. The time's not right. We are waiting on others also being ready. There was a look of wonder in his eyes. He'd heard from God!
And this is our starting point; children raised in such a way they can hear from God for themselves; hear from Him, recognise His voice & are prepared to act on His instructions. Not church sitters. Not pew warmers. Not 3 hymns & a 3 point sermon people. We are living in volatile times. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: It is not just pretty rhetoric. It is a Living Truth. May our children grow strong. May the spirit of God be a fire in their bones & may the Living God consume them!