Last night Joel and I had the privilege of leading our son into a clear understanding of God’s salvation! It was beautiful. Gideon is our third child, but gave us our first experience like this. I can’t pinpoint a moment in time when Solomon or Shylah “became saved” or finally grasped an understanding of salvation. We have made it a point to share the Gospel with our children from infancy. So, much like King David, I feel like Solomon and Shylah will likely feel they have known God from infancy. We waited on baptism until Joel and I felt that they not only loved God, but also had a clear understanding of what the good news about Jesus is as well as the significance and meaning of baptism. We waited until we were convinced that they had reached a spiritual maturity that allowed them to make a conscious *choice.* So it wasn’t just another to-do Dad and Mom had planned for them.
Gideon has been different. He’s a sweetheart just like his older siblings. He loves serving others, doesn’t like to see anyone hurting, and has a love for conversations about the Bible and God. However, in him remained a spiritual immaturity. Joel and I have simply been waiting. Waiting for that spiritual awakening to occur. It’s not something you can force, and it comes at different ages and stages for everyone. Gideon has memorized many Bible verses, he’s very familiar with Bible stories, gladly goes to church each week, and could explain the Gospel. But, none of this equals salvation. You can do the right activities and look like a Christian, but with Gideon, we could tell he was simply regurgitating what we were teaching him. Which is GREAT! As parents, it is our responsibility to train our children in godliness and a knowledge of Christ. In response to the training parents offer, all obedience will initially be mere mimicking. Until it’s not.
One day the child will own the training. It will become his beliefs. It will become his understanding. It will no longer be me telling him what is true. He will now KNOW that truth for himself. That day came for Gideon last night! I’d be a fool to think that his spiritual development is complete and that he won’t ever again have spiritual struggles, but it is a HUGE moment! Gideon now OWNS his faith! Praise God!!!
Last night after the kids had been in bed for awhile, Gideon wandered into our room. The conversation began like so many others we’ve had with Gideon: he was concerned because he was having scary dreams. During these conversations we show empathy, offer comfort, and also share tips for conquering the unfriendly thoughts. Joel had the privilege of having this conversation with Gideon, so I mostly listened. We often suggest prayer as a strong counter to bad dreams and scary thoughts. Gideon usually accepts this advice, allows us to pray with him, and moves on. Last night, however, the discussion took an unusual turn…
In response to the encouragement to pray, Gideon emotionally broke down and revealed that he’s not sure if he’s a Christian. He understands that we need to believe in Jesus to be saved, but he’s not sure if God hears his prayers and if he is saved. We had a long talk with him about what it means to be saved. Despite all of our gospel-sharing at home and what I know he learns at church, he was struggling with not being sure HOW to be saved. So, Joel patiently shared the Gospel with Gideon. Since we have spent years teaching our children, most of the conversation involved Joel asking Gideon questions: Who is Jesus? What did he do? Why did he die on the cross? What must we do to be saved? What does it mean to be saved? And finally, LET’S PRAY! Joel encouraged Gideon to pray on his own. As I tell my kids all the time, prayer is simply talking to God. I don’t want them thinking prayer is just a robotic “to-do.” It is a wonderful privilege to be able to talk to God! He loves us more than we could ever imagine!!!
So Gideon prayed. He thanked God for his love, for sending Jesus to die on the cross for his sins, and for wanting to save him. Gideon apologized for his sins. He asked God to forgive him and to help him to be godly. And after his prayer, his countenance was wonderful. He clearly felt a burden lift from his shoulders. After he left the room Joel looked at me and said, “That was beautiful.” It really was! And today as I sat here writing this post I overheard Gideon sharing last night’s experience with his siblings. Precious.
This morning Gideon came in with scribbles on a page, which he said was a letter he wrote. He asked if he could “read” it to me. It was a letter to Daddy, joyfully reliving last night and expressing his yearning to be baptized. So now I am sure we will be having many follow up conversations with Gideon and will begin discussing the meaning of baptism. What a blessed time!!! Praise God forever and ever!!