Becoming A Christian Kid
Becoming A Christian Kid
When I was a small child, our family rarely, if ever, went to church. My father was an orphan raised by people who seldom attended church, so he followed suit, even though he had a strong faith from his orphanage experience. My mother had simply fallen out of the habit of attending church. So, how did I come to faith in Jesus?
As a preschooler, I sometimes had to stay with my grandparents, who spoke only Finnish. If I had been running around their tiny house too much, Grandma would make me quiet down by having me sit on the day bed. Once seated, I could look at books or newspapers. Sometimes Grandma even had me watch the clock and tell her when I saw the minute hand move. Funny thing, I never did see that hand move. There simply wasn’t anything appropriate for a preschooler there — except for one great big, embossed, leather-bound book with steel clasps.
It was a Finnish family Bible with plenty of pictures. I wasn’t able to speak Finnish, but I understood it. Grandma would sit beside me and tell me about the pictures. There were pictures of creation, the flood, wars, Jesus, people being healed, the crucifixion and the resurrection.
So, even with a language barrier, I was learning about God and His love. That has always made me wonder about God’s ways of drawing people to Him. Everyone’s experience is different and only God can work it. Remember your growth in faith. It shows just how special you are to our Lord.
Then one Christmas our parents decided it would be nice to take us to the children’s Christmas program at church. I was probably about five years old and remember sitting on my father’s lap, leaning on the pew in front of us. It was the most beautiful story ever acted out by children. And it was just like the story Grandma told me, only with so much more color and pageantry.
I’ll never forget a little shepherd boy, who was smugly smarting off. All I could think was, “You’re playing the shepherd, but don’t know the beauty of God’s love for you.”
Well, Grandpa and Grandma died and there were no more stories from the big family Bible. Then our school started a Religious Release Time program, when I was in the fifth grade. It was every Thursday afternooon. Students would be allowed to go to religious training at the church of their choice. When I saw many of the other fifth grade students line up to leave with their Bible study materials, I wanted to go too. There was so much more I needed to learn about the God who loved me.
So I begged my parents to sign a permission slip and started attending Religious Release Time classes. There I found out that they also had a Sunday School. Oh, if Dad and Mom would only let me go. To my surprise, they consented and also had my sister and two brothers attend.
This led to confirmation classes, and after that, helping teach Sunday School and Vacation Bible School classes. Each step led to more studying and a deeper growth in faith.
What’s the point of this autobiographical sketch? God leads in marvelous ways and His timing is always just right. Look at your own life. Hasn’t God done intricately wonderful things for you, too? They’re all little things. But, they add up to a marvelous unfolding of God’s power in our lives.
I think of my Grandma, the kids in the Christmas pageant, the lessons in Release Time, Sunday School, and VBS, and my Dad singing hymns as he worked. They were all little events with ordinary people — young and old, who gave a beautiful witness. Whether they realized it or not, they were a witness.
As Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3:2-3,
“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”
People are reading the letter written on the tablet of your heart. What does it say?