Monday, August 1, 2016

train them up

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6
I was thinking about this verse this morning as I was thinking back over this week.  I have two children and I do desperately hope and pray that I am training them well. I make sure they are in church, youth groups, go to church camps, they have bibles, we pray with them and speak about trusting God with them.  We have tried to live by example in front of them.  I have tried to do what my parents did.  You see, I was raised to love Jesus and know Jesus as my Savior.  I want to do the same for my children.  I want them to know Jesus for themselves.  But, I know there are no guarantees. I pray for them everyday.  As a parent, I am concerned for their future, not just in this life, but for eternity.

Yesterday, during the Sunday lesson, the teacher mentioned the little girl who spoke to Naaman about Elisha in 2 Kings chapter 5:2-3
And the Syrians had gone out on raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She waited on Naaman’s wife. Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” 

This little girl was pivotal in the healing of Naaman.  She told of the prophet back in Israel who could bring about the healing for Naaman.  This little girl was a captive in Syria, taken from her home in Israel.  Here she is serving Naaman's wife and  family.  She has every right to be angry and bitter. She could have even held back the information about Elisha and God's healing power.  But, she didn't.  She must have been taught to love her enemies. She must have been taught to trust God even in the worst of circumstances. She must have been taught that God can heal. She must have seen or heard Elisha teach and prophecy. She must have had parents that had done their best to train her up in the way she should go.  

I cannot imagine being her parents.  Here they have this beautiful little girl.  They love her as any parent would. They watch her take her first steps and do all those great things babies do.  They would tuck her in at night. They may have told her all the wonderful stories of their ancestors from the Torah. They may have told her how God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. They may have told her about King David and the mighty victories he won. They may have taken her to the temple. They may have taught her to pray and trust God.  Then, the enemy from Syria swept through and began defeating them. The King of Israel was killed. The enemy soldiers swept through. Her father may have died in battle. We know for sure that this little girl was taken to be a servant in Syria and ended up in Naaman's house. He may have been the one who took her.  Was her mother taken as well or did this little girl have to see her mother killed as she tried to hang on to her little girl or other children? If her mother was left alive, did she worry over her missing daughter? Did she fear for her safety and imagine all the horrible things she was going through? There was not going to be a rescue.  This mother had to trust that God would take care of her child. She had to hope she had taught her enough about God that her daughter would trust in God. She did not know what would become of her, but she knew God could be with her.  She taught her child that God would be there. 

These parents had instilled in their daughter enough for her to know that God could heal. She was able to move forward and love her masters enough to care about Naaman's health and share about a way he could be healed. She became a witness in a strange land of God Almighty and what He could do. Even when she could have hated them and gave up, she became a light of God. She became instrumental in the healing power of God. She became the missionary. I do not know what happened when Naaman came home and was healed. We know Naaman went home with his servants rejoicing and made perfectly clean. I am sure his family rejoiced to see him healed. I can only imagine that just maybe his family became believers in the God of Israel. They may have put aside the idol worship.  Maybe this little girl lead them and taught them more of who the true God is. She was placed in a situation through horrible circumstances that allowed her to be a light of God.  

I wonder if her parents ever told her that God would use her someday.  I wonder of they ever told her to trust God no matter what happened. I wonder if they told her that God would be glorified even when things didn't go the way we plan. This little girl remembered what she was taught about God and she was used for His glory. Isn't that what every Christian parent wants for their children?  I know I do. My husband and I do not know what will happen with our children. But, we can trust God with them. We can trust that He will keep them and be with them even when we cannot. We can teach them all we can now and point them in the way they should go.  We can trust God to speak to their hearts when it really matters and help them remember who He is when they need Him. We can pray for them and place them in God's hands. We dedicated them to God after they were born.  Yes, they may make different choices than we made. But, I know God is my Savior. I know my children have experienced God for themselves. They have both made that important decision to repent and be baptized. They have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. They have witnessed God's healing power and God answering prayers. I can trust they will not forget and God will remind them as they grow up and leave home. If they are not with me, I pray they remember the lessons and remember to trust in God. When they are old, they will not depart from Him and someday, we will all be able to worship God Almighty for eternity.  Isn't that really the ultimate goal?

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