Week 37 (September)
While still in college I sat in the pastor's office in a church and listened as a retired gentleman talked about his wayward children who were by then middle-aged adults. He was trying to reconcile their sinful lives with the biblical passage which begins: "Train up a child in the way he should go . . ." (Proverbs 22:6)
At the time I was a young, unmarried ministerial student. I'm afraid I wasn't much help to him as he tried to understand what had gone wrong with his children.
However, I was convinced then -- and am still convinced – that the biblical principles are valid. We parents can trust God to bless our child-rearing efforts in His own way and in His own time, if only we act in true faith and with willingness to submit our own wills to His.
Consider, for example, the story of Moses as a baby. Exodus 2 gives the account of the birth and early years of this great man of God, it is clear that everything he accomplished for God was built on the foundation of a godly mother's faithful love and her willingness to trust her son to the providence of God.
Moses' greatness in history cannot be doubted. He is the prominent character of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible). For 45 years he was the great legislator of the children of Israel. But none of that would have been possible had his mother not been willing to dare all for his salvation.
While we were missionaries in Italy, I had the privilege of hearing David Klassen speak. This unassuming Russian preacher spent 10 years in communist prisons because of his fervent Christian testimony. Finally, the Soviet government exiled this preacher from his own beloved country.
In a little rented hall in a suburb in Florence, Rev. Klassen related some of his prison experiences. Locked behind bars, he was very conscious of the fact that his seven children were forced to study every day in schools that were bent on eliminating religion from Russian life. Rev. Klassen yearned to be there with his children, to help counteract the godless pressures on them to renounce their parents' faith. He could not be with his children, so Rev. Klassen had, like Moses' parents, placed his children in God's care. That day he told us that they had all become believers.
I still don't have a satisfactory answer for that American father. But I am fully convinced that the story of Moses, the Klassens' story, and the stories of countless other families demonstrate that Christian parents can safely place their children in God's care without reservation. Moses' mother did not know what God had in mind for her son. But her faith prodded her into action to save the little boy. Ultimately she had to leave him in the hands of the Lord.
Neither you nor I know what God has in mind for our kids. But we can rest assured that it will be worth whatever we have to dare for their salvation.
I wrote these devotional thoughts while we were serving as missionaries in Italy. They originally appeared in the September 15, 1980 edition of Standard, a take-hoe piece for adult Sunday school classes.
Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132
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