May I tell you why it is so important for your children to memorize Bible verses? Why it is important that they attend their small group at church regularly? Why reading scripture at home every day is so vital to whether they experience a full life or an empty one? Why sharing the word of God over meals, in the car, when you tuck them in bed is imperative to their ability to survive in this world? May I tell you?
Is it because it’s a good thing to do? Yes, but ultimately that is a weak reason; doing what’s good can be overrun by something superficially “better”.
Is it because we are to be obedient to God? Yes, but in the end obedience with coercion wanes.
Is it because everyone at church is doing it? Sure, their influence is good for us; however, without a lasting purpose, we will look for a new fad to follow.
Every one of your children will face difficulties, tragedies, suffering, disappointment and rejection in this life. Jesus has said it, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33). It’s not a matter of if, it’s a sure deal.
As much as we want to protect them from all hardship, it does not change the fact that our kids will experience trials in their life. We can’t protect them from them all, but we can provide a way through them.
Let me ask you a few questions:
What are your kids to do when their troubles come?
Parents, what happens if you are not around to comfort, protect, and encourage them?
Where do they go if they feel all alone?
I’ve been reading an incredible book titled, Defiant, written by Alvin Townley. It is a book about the POW’s who endured unfathomable torture in Vietnam’s infamous prison. It’s their story and the story of their wives who fought for their freedom. This book is a hard read, because the topic is difficult to get through, yet what I have come away with has been profound. Particularly, finding out where these POW’s gained their greatest strength.
Many of them, if not all grew up attending church. Some Catholic. Some Baptist. They grew up learning scripture, memorizing it, knowing it. Some were not exactly walking with the Lord when they crashed into enemy territory; but while in Vietnam’s prison, they reflected back to their church upbringing.
With life’s basic necessities stripped from them – their dignity, health, psychological stability, family, friends, food, warmth, and all they needed to survive, they remembered the scriptures that they memorized. Many of them groped and clung to these Bible verses. They gave them comfort, warmth, the drive to not give up, and the ability to trust God in their most desperate moments. For seven years, these men suffered atrocities that were unimaginable. But, God’s truth was there. It was in their heart; they believed it and grew to cherish it.
In all the horror they lived through, and all the evil they encountered, God drew them close to Him by His word. They learned to refresh themselves with His word. They leaned on His word to help them carry on. Mind you they did not have a Bible; all they had was their memory.
Impending trials are one of the reasons our children must know God’s word. They must encounter Jesus as their Savior. Our faith in Him comes by hearing the truth. Once heard, seeds are planted. When watered, they sprout. When they sprout, their faith in Jesus becomes a tree firmly rooted in a well-watered garden – one that will feed them during the good times and the bad.
The word of God is a powerful sword; it cuts through evil, separates what is good from the foul. It keeps us pure; it provides us peace where this world cannot compete. It is by far the only tool that can strengthen the weary from grief and broaden our understanding of how powerful God is.
Even though these men suffered so deeply, even though they became like wineskin dried by smoke, God’s word came to the surface just like the noon day sun arises. Even though the arrogant guards dug pits for them, these POW’s relied on the Word. In their long wait for their release, all but one hung on; all because God’s word was powerful enough to nourish their every need.
God’s word is not just words on a page, they are the very demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power. They explain the spiritual realities that we can experience. They are finer than gold, stronger than steel and more lasting than anything on earth. All things will pass away but God’s word will forever stand.
We have no idea what difficulties our children will face in their life. Some as tragic as I explained above, some not so much. Nonetheless, each will experience their own depth of anguish in life. Will they be ready to endure? Will they have the word as their tool of comfort, combat, and courage?
Teaching your children the word of God is like giving them food and water. Can you imagine depriving them of their daily nutrition? Never! It would starve them, make them sick and eventually kill them.
Likewise, God’s Word nourishes their soul, heart, and mind with lifelong weapons against the evil of this world that wants to rob them of God’s peace and steal their God-given purpose.
Feed your children truth as Jesus told Peter to feed God’s people.
Fit the scriptures in your everyday life. They do fit; they will fit.
And when your child’s time of struggle comes, you will be glad you did.
“If Your word had not been my delight, I would have died in my affliction.”