“… When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” (Joshua 4:6-7)
Our little people grow up to be bigger people and hopefully into mature adults, but the process is just that … a process! Babies may start out when old enough to explore the room unafraid, having little or no fear … only to learn after a fall or two … after a book falls on their head or a toy scratches them on their face, they soon realize danger is ever-present.
Remembering what God has done in the past helps us who are adults in the face of danger to know where to turn and not turn! Remembering God’s love, protection, guidance and comfort are values that helped me overcome the sin in my life … to deal in a better way with the challenges of life … and hopefully to become a better person … a person bearing the image of Christ in my life!
What about our young ones who haven’t experienced these things yet? How do we prepare them to face, function and live in an ugly, harsh, selfish and vicious world?
Many of our young people have already witnessed even in pre-school forward, bullying. It may be they saw someone else get pushed around … it may be they are the ones who have been pushed around … and they might have been one of those who did the pushing around!
Fear has the ability to paralyze a person. Whether it is a fear of germs, spiders, snakes, mice, heights, other kids … fear is a clear and present danger lurking in the shadows of our children’s bedrooms when the lights go out … in their classrooms or on the playground or in the gym … in the mall or shopping center … and sometimes even at Bible Class or worship service!
Can courage … bravery … strength of character … boldness in the face of some fear … be taught to our kids, to our spouse or even to ourselves?
The answer is a resounding YES! You see, the answer to such questions is always found within the inspired pages of God’s good Book. We do in fact find in His word, “all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3)
From an early age, we encourage them to stand up and overcome their fears; of taking that first step, or of swinging a bat at the ball coming at them, or with a golf club hitting the ball from a tee or on the grass, or making that first speech. We all understand the principle, don’t we?
The Israelites must have been anxious, even fearful, at the prospects of facing “giants in the land” and of taking a land which had been promised by God but was replete with fortified cities, kings who were experienced in battle and possessed under their command great military prowess.
They needed leadership that they trusted in, and they needed to remember what God had already done for them through the years and of His promises for the future!
The courage, the bravery, the resolve to conquer the land would depend upon remembering all that God had done up to this point in their history … and being faithful to serve Him every day that lay before them.
It is no different for us today. Yes, our God is awesome! Yes, He has done so much for each of us! Yes, He promises more in the future! But … we must not forget … we must remember and share our memories and our faith with the next generation and the next generation after that!
The “what do these stones mean” moments come often and sometimes when we least expect it, but we can handle them with the sharing of truth and the encouragement to accept that truth in their young lives!
Will our children … our grandchildren be brave when it counts? There are no guarantees. We can only hope, pray and encourage when they find themselves face to face with a test of their faith in God! May each of our young obtain, maintain and hold on to their own faith … faith taught, exemplified and emphasized daily in our homes!
Bill Fairchild, Jr.