When my kids were little they often asked my mum, “Nan, tell us another story.” She still tells the tales of her childhood, and ours, in a really entertaining way. Now I hear my grandchildren asking the same thing of her. She’s coming up 94, and can still tell a great yarn of ‘the good old days’! (She had some of them published in her book “From Everton Vale to Rivington Pike“). Anyway for me growing up, those stories were a part of my upbringing. Many of them I’d heard often before, and they are still entertaining and good for a laugh on the third generation!
I try to imagine what stories Isaac must have grown up with – and their culture was one that valued this art form far more than ours. He must have heard about the promises made to his father concerning his offspring. He must have known how Abraham and Sarah had waited all those years for their prayers to be answered. He must have heard how amazed and joyful they were when Isaac finally put in his appearance! So what came more naturally to him, when his own wife bore no children? He prayed to the Lord on her behalf. (Genesis 25 v 21) The verse then goes on to say, “The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.” Just like that! No, not just like that, actually. Just a mere 20 years later! Isaac was 40 when they married, and 60 when the twins were born (v26).
There was no fuss, no dismay, no doubt through all those years. God had promised offspring specifically through his line. He had done it before, and he would do it again, so it was just a matter of trusting and waiting God’s time. Faith was what he had grown up with. He was immersed in an expectation that God would provide, that God would honour his promises, that God was profoundly interested in them as a family, and that God would not be rushed. It was a positive learning environment. And that is a key to bringing kids up in the way of faith. Talk faith around them. Tell them the stories of what God has done. Give them opportunity to participate in praying for the needs of the whole family, and those around, so they can see their prayers answered.
And for those who have no little ones to train up, talking faith around people is one way of drawing them into a better understanding of who God is, how much he loves us, and how he wants to be involved in every part of our lives. Everyone likes a good story, and there’s no better story than a God story.