My brother Tom and I have a new book and workbook coming out this May. It is called, Experiencing God at Home. It addresses the important issue of how we as parents help our children to experience God as they are growing up in our home. We didn’t write the material because we were foolproof experts! In reality, we are simply fellow travelers, and a bit road weary at that!
As in most book projects, we learned more than we taught. Over the next few months I’ll share several truths from that material with you. But there was one truth we encountered that was as fascinating as it was disturbing: biblically, it is difficult to raise godly children.
Of course, we know the Bible upholds a high view of godly, and successful, parenting. But what is unsettling is how few good examples there are of it. If Scripture expects godly parenting, then you would assume the Bible’s pages would be brimming with positive examples. But they are not.
Remember history’s first parents? Adam and Eve? Their first son murdered their second son. Abraham, the father of the faithful, has had his sons Isaac and Ishmael feuding for centuries. Isaac’s son’s had such a bitter falling out that Jacob had to flee the country. Jacob’s son’s sold their little brother into slavery. Throughout the Bible you’ll find that even highly regarded leaders struggled to lead their own children well. Eli held his nation’s top religious post, but his son’s were wicked. Samuel’s national leadership was above reproach, but his children were a disgrace. David was a man after God’s own heart, but two of his sons rebelled against him, a third son raped his daughter, and a fourth son ultimately supported idol worship once he became king. Godly kings such as Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah, and Josiah all had children who did evil in the sight of the Lord. It seems to be the exception rather than the rule, that godly people raised godly children.
At this point you might be ready to turn in your parenting papers! Don’t be too hasty! But the truth is that, though we all had parents at some point in our life, that doesn’t automatically make us experts on parenting. Parenting may in fact, be the most challenging task you ever undertake. Statistically, roughly 70% of children who grow up attending church will walk away from church as young adults. That is an extremely high casualty rate. Many a good person has watched their children turn their back on their childhood faith and values.
So it behooves each of us to do everything we possibly can to help our children experience God. It is not enough to take them to church. You must bring them to Christ! And, you cannot give to your children what you do not have in your own life.
So if you are a parent, be relentless about doing all you can to help each of your children experience God. Be sure you are modeling what it looks like to experience God. Talk about God. Share your divine encounters with your family. Seek advice from parents who are enjoying success in this area. And, never give up.
I pray that you and your children will truly experience God, at home.