Faith is More Than a “Sunday School Answer”

August 14, 2013 · 6 comments

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by Lindsey Carlson

As we ate lunch after church, I asked one of my boys what he’d learned in Sunday School.

“I will trust God,” he proudly answered.

“Oh, you will?” I asked him. “And what does that mean?”

He thought for a minute and then replied. His air of confidence seemed to indicate he thought he was about to impress me; “When I am afraid, I will trust God.”

“Why?” I asked him.

His eyebrow raised, he looked at me with confusion. “Why do we trust God when we are afraid?” I asked again. He had no answer. My two older children jumped at the opportunity to help him out. “Because he is holy!” one answered. The other shouted out in a somewhat questioning tone, “Because he created us?”

“Nope.” I replied. Of course, God is holy and he did create us, but this wasn’t what I was getting at. There is a reality that I want my children to experience that will strengthen their trust in God. Realizing they’d run out of all their Sunday School “God-and-Jesus” answers, my kids waited for the answer I’d been looking for.

Why We Trust

I’m committed to teaching my children God’s word. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). I also understand that in the most frightening times of my life I’ve needed more than memorized answers to battle fear and unbelief. The same goes for my children. They need the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts and give them faith. This work comes from God’s gracious hand of provision, and is not magically conjured up by memory work.

I explained to my kids that we can trust God when we are afraid because God is faithful to uphold his promises to us. We know God has always loved us and provided for us because we’ve seen him keep his promises throughout history. Because of his faithfulness in the past, we can trust him to be faithful in our future too. Knowing God’s faithfulness gives me the confidence I need to trust him when I am afraid. My kids need to experience God’s goodness and faithfulness for themselves.

In Psalm 46:1-3 the Psalmist cries:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”

Why is the psalmist confident that God is his refuge and strength? Because he’s seen the Lord’s helping hand in the midst of trouble. He has touched and tasted God’s faithfulness.

So We Might Know & Believe

When Christ came, he fulfilled even more of God’s promises. He came like Scripture said he would (Isaiah 42:1, 53:2), lived a perfect life (Isaiah 42:2), and was despised, rejected, and died a sinner’s death in our place (Isaiah 53:3-5) just as we were told he would. In Christ, we have the privilege of seeing God’s faithfulness through the covenant God kept with his chosen people. Jesus demonstrated God’s faithfulness when he was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities (Isaiah 53:5).

Such gracious intervention and radical salvation convinces me at a heart level “When I am afraid, I will trust God.” Like the psalmist, I declare wholeheartedly, “God is my refuge and strength!” I trust God because I’ve received his promised faithfulness through Christ’s redemption. To know and believe, my children must experience God’s faithfulness too.

Lord, I pray one day my children’s memory work will be more than words, and “When I am afraid, I will trust God” will be a seed of faith that blossoms into a heartfelt confession of lifelong dependence on Jesus. Your word says that faith is a free gift (Eph. 2:8-9); Lord, give this gift of saving faith to my children. And would they experience for themselves your sustaining faithfulness to live their lives to your glory.


ABOUT THE WRITER
Lindsey Carlson lives in Houston with her worship-pastor husband and their four active kids (all under age 9). Her home is filled with the sounds of childhood (galloping horses, swashbuckling heroes, and the occasional sibling brawl), the near-constant presence of music in some form, and volumes of great literature, old and new. You can catch her regular reflections on the gospel at Worship Rejoices and follow her on Twitter.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Debi Hugs August 14, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Oh, that I would have known this foundational truth as a child, and just as importantly, taught it to my children when they were still young. The temptation to take the “short cut” of scripture memory and “deep” Bible study over realizing the real lessons come through experience, is always looming. That I would still, in the mid-years of my life, remember everything I experience is due to God’s faithfulness to His promises, not my ability to “study hard & pass the test!” Thank you, Lindsey, for the blessed reminder!

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2 Tim August 14, 2013 at 8:48 pm

What a great moment with your kids, Lindsey. And a great lesson for us all to learn. We trust God because he’s proven himself faithful. Even when we are faithless, he is still our ever-present comforter. Grace!

Cheers,
Tim

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3 Betsy August 15, 2013 at 10:11 pm

What a great conversation you had with your kids. I’m reading “Sticky Faith” and have been challenged lately to have more meaningful spiritual exchanges with my teens. They’re getting baptized this weekend, so it’s been great to talk about it and involve them in planning the event.

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4 Mandi August 16, 2013 at 5:25 am

Yes and Amen! My girls are so little and I just ache for the day when they really understand and can see Christ working. We are in the middle of move so money and all things are tight – including food and patience. I’m working hard to rejoicing and teaching them all the Lord has done. Loved this post!

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