"Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it."
I got a letter yesterday from my niece's school which at first I thought was a little odd. When I opened the letter, however, I found that it was a form letter being used by the students to raise awareness of and funding for a mission trip to Haiti this summer.
I haven't seen or talked to my niece in several weeks so I didn't know anything about the trip until I read the letter. I couldn't say I was surprised, though. She attends a Christian school that makes missions and service a part of their curriculum, along with the basic academics.
More than that, she has been raised in a Christian home with parents who live out their salvation every day. She has seen the people who most influence her give of their time and money and talents to serve God through the service of others. And, they've seen this done with joy and enthusiasm, not as a burden or unwanted chore, or worse, as something they have to do to earn God's favor.
I am so grateful that my sister and brother-in-law are first godly individuals, and from that well of faith, they have been godly parents. They aren't perfect and would be the first to tell you that, but they love God with all their hearts and have prayed for their children daily since before they were born. Sometimes over the last few years those prayers have been hourly - minute to minute even. But they have not failed.
Their children, my niece and nephew, are not perfect, but they are remarkable children, even if their Aunt Sheshe does say so! God's hand is on them in a special way as it is on every child. He has a plan for their lives that is wonderful and fulfilling and they are shown every day how to seek God and his will for them.
What an amazing task parents have. Christian parents trying to raise Christian children in the world today have an enormous task. But along with that task is God's promise to parents who worry about their children. If you train them in my ways, they may stray for a season, but I will draw them back to me. I am faithful.
What an awesome comfort and a strong encouragement to Christian parents, and to aunts, uncles and grandparents. What we say matters. How we live matters even more.
Jeff and I will be proud to support Hannah on her trip, and not just with money, but with prayer and encouragement, some letters tucked into her suitcase, and just maybe a few goodies in there for good measure.
Is there a special child in your life? Are you covering that child with prayer? Are you living before them in a way that always points them to God? Remember his promise, and let's all help train our children in the way they should go. They are the future of so many things.
Your turn: How do you set examples for your kids? Have you seen the fulfillment of God's promise with your own children? Please share.
I am praying for you.