Friday, October 24, 2014

Day 24 :: How a rainbow led to a conversation about hell

Florida weather can change at any moment.  This can make planning for outdoor activities challenging, but it also means we get to see some amazing aspects of God's creation.  And when I'm paying attention, these glimpses of God in nature can bring about opportunities to teach my children.

As we drove to school one morning, it was starting to drizzle, but up ahead I could see blue skies.  I was inwardly praying for no rain by the time Isabella had to walk into school, when I noticed a gorgeous rainbow in the sky.  The girls saw it too, I snapped a picture, and we continued on our way.

On the way back home, 45 minutes later, Mallory, squealing with delight, pointed out the rainbow to me once again.

So, I talked with her about what I had been thinking of earlier when I saw the rainbow  "You know, rainbows are a way of reminding us of God's promises.  The first rainbow was in the sky right after Noah and his family got out of the ark."

Mallory:  "Mommy, is Noah dead?  What about Zaccheus?  And Moses?  How did they die?"

Me:  "Well, the Bible doesn't tell us how Zaccheus died, but it does mention that Moses and Noah died when they were old."

Mallory:  "I don't want to die."

Me: "We don't have to be afraid of dying if we believe in Jesus."


Mallory: "Why aren't you saying anything?"

Me:  "What do you want me to say, honey?"

Mallory:  "I want you to talk to me about dying."

These are the moments that I pray for.  The questions that my children might ask, opening a door for the gospel.  Often times I feel inadequate to answer the questions, and I sometimes fear misspeaking or not explaining things well enough for them to understand.  When a door opens, though, I try to seize the opportunity and beg God for wisdom in that moment.

So, when Mallory said she wanted me to talk to her about dying, we talked about dying.  I told her about Jesus, how He had died.  And that He rose again, and then God took Him to heaven, where He lives forever with God.  That was a good enough answer for her at the time, but then she asked me another question.

"What is Satan's place called?"

In this particular conversation she was working through the difference between heaven and hell.  Nothing more.  God is in heaven; Satan is in hell.  When we die, we either go to be with God in heaven, or we go to Satan's place.

Later on that day as we were driving home from picking Isabella up from school, Mallory said to Isabella, "When you die, if you believe in God you go to heaven, and if you don't believe in God you go to--Mommy, what's Satan's place called?--hell."

Isabella's exasperated reply, "Mallory, you have to believe that God SAVES you."

Before an argument broke out, we talked about our sin that requires being saved, and yes, we do need to believe that God alone can save us from our sin.

This isn't the only conversation we've had with the girls lately.  They have both been asking very good questions and wanting to understand salvation.

It's amazing to me how much they grasp.  And, yet, at the same time, there is so much about the Bible they don't understand.  "Faith like a child" has become something Bradley and I talk about more and more frequently.  What is a necessary measure of knowledge for salvation?  Specifically for our children?

Salvation came for me at the age of almost 5.  I distinctly remember sitting on the middle cushion of our brown faded couch, reading family devotions one night, and understanding that I was a sinner, I needed Jesus to save me, and I trusted in Him that night for my salvation.  It was pretty simple.

And from that point forward, the roots of Truth took hold in my heart and continued to grow, by the grace of God, in fertile soil.  People from my church invested in my life through discipleship, teaching me how to read my Bible, share my faith, and live in the light of God's truth every day.  My parents talked about the Bible with me, we discussed theological issues around the kitchen table late into the night.  They asked me about my faith.  They prayed for me.  They pushed me to seek God in everything, from relationships to teachers that I disliked, to college, career choices, and marriage.  Their counsel came from their own deeply rooted faith and by simply living it out and sharing it with me, I saw firsthand what it meant to follow Jesus.

This is what we want for our children.  We want to constantly be talking with them about the things of the Lord, not in an awkward or forced way, but in a 'this is my life of faith in Jesus, come live it with me' kind of way.


And so, when I see a rainbow in the sky, I share with my children that it reminds me of God's promises.  I didn't plan for that remark to bring about a conversation about hell, but it did.  Mentioning God in the midst of our days, as we go about our tasks, these are the moments that will open up doors for the gospel with our children.  

We can't make them believe, only the Holy Spirit can do that work, but we can be faithful to pray for open doors for the gospel, share the truth and live it out before our children.

This is the best way to bless our kids. 

This is Day 24 of a series:  Made to Pour, Living a life of Blessing

Verse print can be found at Gracelaced.  Ruth is an excellent artist who creates beautiful prints and custom pieces.  She incorporates Scripture into her art and has a gorgeous collection of Christmas prints.  

1 comment:

  1. I love this line: "We can't make them believe, only the Holy Spirit can do that work, but we can be faithful to pray for open doors for the gospel, share the truth and live it out before our children." Thanks for this reminder to keep an eye out for faith-filled conversations with our kiddos.


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