my 6 year old and i were reading Bible before bed the other night. he has the Message for kids, which is full of good stories, engaging pictures, and good prayer prompts at the end of each story.
we read about zacchaeus, and the prayer prompt was to pray for someone we know who doesn’t believe in Jesus. he wasn’t sure who to pray for, as most of the folks we know and fellowship with are believers (i was pretty convicted about this, more to come later). i told him we could pray for my mom and dad and sister, his grandparents and auntie, as they did not know Jesus.
my son let this sink in as we prayed, and suddenly, he began to cry. heart wrenching tears, sobs even. my husband could hear them upstairs.
it hit him like a ton of bricks. grandma and grandpa and auntie won’t be in heaven with us. they would be in hell.
this child of mine is stubborn. i have written about him in the past. his stubbornness usually gets him into lots of trouble. but, in the midst of even the worst day, he usually surprises me with some deep insight about God. one day, he even knelt in humility in prayer after we had had a long, difficult discipline session. he always catches me off guard with his insight, and tonight was no exception.
he started scheming, how we could get them to come to church and have our pastor tell them about Jesus. how we could take our bibles with us to Christmas at their house and read to them about Jesus. how we could send them Christmas cards with Bible verses in them to tell them about Jesus. he wants to DO something.
i told him the best thing we could do is PRAY for them, fervently. and for as long as it takes.
he didn’t like that answer, as it didn’t involve an immediate payoff. but we talked about how BIG God is, and how only HE can change a heart and soften it toward the Good News of Jesus.
Fast forward two days. my dad was here for a quick visit while my mom was in the hospital for an outpatient procedure. on the way out, my 6 year old boy, unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ, asks my dad the question i have never had the courage to ask:
Grandpa, why don’t you believe in Jesus?
what followed was a bunch of awkward silence from me, dagger looks from my dad to me as he said “Who said i don’t believe in Jesus? I believe there is something up there.” and a quick exit on his part.
i have no idea how my dad feels about that question, other than to be really angry it was even asked at all. my dad does believe in something, just not the gospel truth of Jesus coming to earth and dying for our sins. he believes you get to heaven if you are “good enough” and he doesn’t think he is good enough.
my son, my bold, stubborn, beautiful child, broke through a wall that day.
i fear for our visit on Christmas day. all of my children are now plotting to share the truth of Jesus to my family. i have no idea how it will be received, what my parents will say in response, or how injured my children will feel if hurtful things are said.
i have no idea how to prepare them for the possibility that their words will not be received with grateful hearts. that they may not accept Jesus as their Savior.
i feel like i am rambling here.. i guess i am writing this simply to ask for prayer. prayer that tender hearts won’t get trampled on as they witness to loved ones. prayer that their words would be received by open and softened hearts. prayer that i would be bold, like them, and stop fearing the worst. prayer that i would not be ashamed of the gospel.
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Lk 9:26