bible stories

My kids had a children’s bible when they were young.  It was basically a story book and we read out of it often.  Actually, we still have it.

I’m not exactly sure why, and if I thought about it long enough and conducted some research I’m sure I’d find out, but we who raise our children in Christian homes start our kids’ religious education out with bible stories.  Adam and Eve.  Noah and the ark.  Moses and the Ten Commandments.  David and Goliath.  Daniel and the lion’s den.  Jesus making the fish and loaves stretch into lunch for a crowd.  Lazarus coming out of the tomb.

Yet we often wait until our children observe, whether through personal experience or someone close to them, an unfair or unfortunate situation before we begin to explain that not all stories have happy endings.  Obviously, it’s not age appropriate to try and explain the trials of life to a toddler.  But I’ve found in raising my own children, kids reach a point where they come to a realization.  A friend’s mom has an illness and doesn’t recover.  A high school classmate fathers a baby.  A young person might be talented enough to be accepted to his dream school, but mom and dad aren’t wealthy enough to pay the bill.  The boy your friend dated dies in an accident.

So I’m curious if we go about the whole thing wrong.  If we should teach in such a way, from the beginning, that life offers no guarantees.  Not everyone is healed.  Not every kid has two parents at home.  Some children don’t have food to eat.  The story of Paul choosing Silas and not Mark.  Which I’m sure brought up some hard feelings.

lego bible
Wow! I didn’t know they made bible legos!

The Paul/Silas/Mark/Barnabas {story} brings to mind a thought.  My kids had a faith struggle, one that in some ways I believe still affects them.  A youth worker they liked and respected was abruptly let go from the church we were attending.  No real reason was given.  Apparently he had no moral failure, no lapse of faith.  Most likely he’d said or done something that contradicted the opinions of the senior pastor.  His departure was presented vaguely and strangely to the youth parents on a Wednesday night.   He never returned to the church after that evening.  My kids were left with questions and concerns.  Recounting the story of Jonah and the big fish would not have offered them any comfort.  I’m not sure any story would have.

Honestly, does a two thousand year old story offer any comfort to a teenager?  I know when I bring up personal tales of my youthful experiences my kids roll their eyes.  Yes, I know.  The bible is different.  The inspired word of God.  Yes, I get that.  But I don’t know if that makes a difference to a young person.  Or many older folks either, for that matter.

What I’m getting at is this……..Isn’t the point of it all reconciliation with God?  Isn’t that the message of the bible as a whole?  That’s what I get.  Reconciliation.  Renewal.  All things changing, eventually for the good.  Despite today’s hardships.  Despite war and hate and all the horrible stuff.  Someday there will be a new earth and peace and all things good.  Sure, explaining that to a child is difficult.  But couldn’t we come up with a plan?  Some sort of processing?

Ideas?  Thoughts?  Possibilities?  Deuteronomy 11 tells us to teach our children to obey and love God.  The New Testament……love God and love others.  Pretty basic, fairly simple to comprehend.  No animals involved, no lion’s den or huge boat or anxieties about running out of wine.  Just what we already teach kids in preschool.  Be kind, be nice, don’t bite or hit each other.  Oh, and learn to love God.  Not understand Him.  Not try to figure Him out.  Love.

Yes, there are a ton of frustrations connected to this post.  Questions regarding how I handled teaching my kids about God.  Questions about the struggles they face as they grow older and hoping they allow God a place in their lives.  A place beyond the {super hero mantra} of children’s Sunday School.

2 thoughts on “bible stories

  1. Kevin has a very good message on Why Bad Things Happen to Good People on his church web site, It is not an easy answer for everything message.

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