Our journey to where we are now has been anything but conventional. My husband and I were far from God when our daughters took their first breaths in this world. Both have hit their teenage years this year and attend high school.
My husband grew up in a loving Adventist home but had a slow fade away as he entered his young adult years. For me, while I did have a heart for God as a child, my family trauma overshadowed the spiritual connection to the point where I didn’t even know if God really existed.
I‘m reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:4: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.“ I know what it feels like to be “blinded by the god of this age“ and I’ve had the wonderful experience of “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ“ shining on me.
As I think of God’s hands, the hands that created me and fashioned me, the hands that lovingly pruned and moulded me—I think of His hands outstretched and welcoming me into His fold with joy and celebration. Then I see His hands and the scars in His palms and I remember the price He paid for my redemption. I remember, “For the redemption of their souls is costly, And it shall cease forever“ (Psalm 49:8, NKJV).
God was very gracious to my husband and me. Three years after the light of His gospel shone into my heart, God used the power of prayer to bring His prodigal son (my husband) back into His fold. Our girls were only 2 and 4 when He saved me, and I have had the privilege of bringing them up for the bigger portion of their years in His Church.
Church hasn’t been anything like I first imagined. Early in my walk I visited numerous other denominations. I wanted a home, a family. A place that filled my soul with all the things I lacked growing up. It was pretty earth shattering when my church experience began with difficulties and pain. The Bible talks about calling His Sabbath a “delight“ but in the beginning all I could feel was an extension of the loneliness and pain that losing all my friends to follow Christ had brought.
As I entered a heart crisis, a good friend from school days who God had brought back into my life said to me, “Julie, church is like a hospital, everybody is sin sick and we need to look to Jesus and not each other.“ Learning to look to “Jesus only“ I have learnt is our only safeguard.
When the girls were small, before we came back to God, their lives consisted of many influences. Their little minds were being shaped by much information including their parents, TV, movies, friends and family. They knew swear words and experienced things like Halloween parties, their parents drinking alcohol, wizards, witches, goblins and so much more that I wouldn’t want to keep remembering.
How refreshing it was to go from so many confusing information influences to sola Scriptura—Scripture alone. The light of His gospel illuminated my heart and mind and shed light on all other influences. It was only in His light that I began to see true light. As a family we began to be convicted that by “beholding we become changed“ and so we became more careful about what we were beholding.
The true church for our children is a church that sits at the feet of Jesus and follows His example to be fishers of men by Scripture alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, through Christ alone, and glory to God alone. As our children experience a relationship with Christ, at His feet they are changed into His image and our church will experience true worship in Christ. Our church will only truly be a church for the children when we place Jesus front and centre and teach them that only in His light can you see light. Our worship experience will flow out from this solid Rock and the streams of light will illuminate all around. The music, the message, the Spirit of God will reflect the character of Christ only when Christ takes centre stage in our hearts and our children’s hearts.
My children absolutely love reading and watching the stories of spiritual heroes who, though sinful and broken, forsook all to follow our Saviour and lived extraordinary lives that shone the light of Christ into the darkest of places. The history hall of fame in Hebrews, the giants of the reformation, the modern-day missionaries and the everyday people sharing testimonies about how God is still working miracles here and now—these influences have overtaken and shaped my children and how wonderful it is to see even through all our broken character traits “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ“ now shining into my children’s hearts.
As Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV) reminds us, “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.“
Jesus Christ is our Hope, our Anchor, our Rock of Ages. Everything that we need for this life, He has given us in His Word. Peter (2 Peter 1:2–4) says, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.“
So, we see that everything, not just some information but all we need to know about God that pertains to our life, is found in His Word and we partake of His Word through His great and precious promises. What strength, what assurance we have that all truth is available to us in His Word. There’s not a longing in our soul that isn’t fulfilled in Christ through His Word.
My prayer is that our church, your local hospital ward, will remember the words of Ellen White: “we have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history“ (Life Sketches, p196).
Let’s teach our children to be the church by remembering what God has done, by giving them what they need, not just what they want. All they need is found in His Word.
Julie Drury is a literature evangelist at the North New South Wales Conference.