I often wonder about one aspect of faith: How do you make it relevant to the next generation? I knew full well that my gandma believed and that she prayed for my salvation every day. And I’ve written previously about who my dad was. He was a faith hero, in my eyes anyway. But even with their examples, I still chose a very destructive lifestyle which required a direct intervention from God’s side. I know why I believe and it is due to a direct encounter with a living and personal God.
We tell our kids in the evenings that they can go to sleep without a worry and that we will be sitting downstairs in case they need us. Then they go to bed without doubting that. Why? Is it because I have such an honest face? No, it is because of two things; Reality and Reliability. They have experienced waking up and calling and then we WERE there – that is the Reality. And on top of that, they have experienced us making other promises that we have kept – Reliability.
When we told our kids that their grandma needed a visa by a specific date to be able to come and stay with us, they started praying and they don’t doubt. Why? Is it because we told them to? Well, maybe, but beyond that lies the same two things; Reality and Reliability. I think if our family had a motto, it might be something along these lines… “We don’t believe in miracles; we depend on them”
The Reality of our situation is that there are things that we simply cannot organize ourselves. Life just seems to happen while you are making other plans. We planned to go on a month’s holiday in South Africa; it has been more than two long years since we have visited our friends and family. Technically speaking, it was impossible.
Here’s the list:
– I needed a job. No income = No holiday
– We needed tickets, but when we started planning the trip, ticket prices had already rissen to above €1000 each. Now, let us just say that restarting life in a foreign country did not leave us with quite that much in our savings account.
– We needed some spending money, at least for food & to rent a car. Would be nice to buy something special to bring back too, I’d say.
– When we come back, we wanted to bring Maric’s mom along for an extended visit. She would be look after the kids after school.
So what does the kids do? One morning at church, the boys independently decides to fill in a prayer request for a job for their dad. We were amazed at their initiative; I’m know they’ve seen us do it from time to time, so apparently it seemed natural to them. Less than a week later, my current manager approached me with an offer for a permanent position.
At this stage, we had enough faith to start the application process for grandma’s visa. The process takes around 3 months, so we had better get a move on. Actually, I now realize that we did not really apply soon enough. On top of that, I suppose the kids would have applied even earlier, if we would just let them!
And so we started praying for money. We knew the tax office still owed us something; but we have been struggling with them for a year and a half already. Foreigners claiming tax back are met with additional red tape. Pure frustration.
Then, a breakthrough; some money were paid out. It was enough to cover the cost of the airfare for the 5 of us and a ticket for grandma; because just at that stage, a large airline launched a new airbus & sliced the ticket prices in half. Wow, absolutely amazing timing.
By now, you can see the pattern… the thing I called Reliability earlier on. These things are not coincidences. We were halfway into ironing out a pretty bleak Reality, and God is very faithful in answering our prayers.
At the this time, Maric and I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit to give a certain amount to the church, something called a first fruit offering. We were low on funds, but felt that is was the right thing to do. And then, I suppose you can guess what? Yes, another miracle. Out of a fund that we were blissfully unaware, an amount was paid. It was 12 times as much as we gave as our first fruit offering. Now we even had some spending money.
Last day at the church, Marco still fills in a prayer request. And so the day came that we left on a jet plane en route to our family and friends, but yet without a visa in grandma’s passport. On vacation in the middle of a game park in the northern parts of South Africa, there is no cellphone reception to be found. Well, the cellphone rang just the same, a call from the Netherlands to discuss our application. After the last details were checked out, the application was approved. Then grandma’s Visa was issued one morning at 9h. And she flew back to the Netherlands with us, that same evening at 18h.
I’ve heard the saying “God is mighty slow, but never late” a couple of times at church. We’ve seen that in Reality this last six months. But in all, we have learnt about God’s reliability over our reality. And THAT is why faith is relevant to our children.
Now I have a bit of a challenge for my family. We’ve trusted God for something that is too big for us to sort out ourselves and He has spoilt us BIG TIME. But we trusted Him for something for US. I want to challenge them to trust God for something for someone else. Their experience of God’s reliability should be a stepping stone for their faith to affect someone else’s reality. Time for us all to step into a new great unknown; what will it be?