If we were having coffee this morning, I would tell you how much I worry that many of my grandchildren do not attend church or seem to have faith in God or even know Him. When I asked my daughter and one of my sons why they did not take their children to church as I did them, I was told me that they did not make their children go to church because I forced religion on them and their siblings, even making them help clean the church.
It is true that I required my children to attend church and that we had a weekly Bible class at home. I instilled in them service for the Lord, attempting to do what we are asked to do in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” But, it seems that with at least two of my children, I may have been too rigid.
So, I worry that my actions years ago with their parents will prevent their children learning to put their trust in God, especially because every person has to decide to accept Christ Jesus as their Savior and to believe that God the Father sent Him. It is in testifying to our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and in God who sent Him to save us from our sins that we become children of God. John 1:12-13 states, “But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.”
Because becoming children of God is an individual decision in which we confess with our mouths our belief in Jesus Christ and repent in our hearts, people cannot piggyback on the salvation of their parents, meaning that God does not have grandchildren. Indeed, in John 3, when Jesus tells Nicodemus that he must be born again, Nicodemus asked Jesus how he as an old man could go back in his mother’s womb and be born again.
And, in verses, 6-7, Jesus tells Nicodemus, “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.'” This means that salvation comes from making a personal choice to believe that God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. And that is what I want for my grandchildren: eternal life with God the Father.
My grandchildren mean the world to me, and between Douglas and me, we have 18 grandchildren (15 for me and 3 for him), and I have five great-grandchildren, with another one due in early March. Yes, I have a fertile bunch, and it appears that they have a fertile bunch. I heard someone say once, “If I knew how much I would love my grandchildren, I would have had them first!”
I understand the sentiment, because my love for my grandchildren astounds me, and I want them to have a good life, as free of worry, pain, and suffering as it is possible to have as human beings living in a broken world where people’s anger and distrust is everyday shown to be destructive for those around them. Over the years, I have sent them birthday cards and inside I would write small notes telling them of God’s love for them and that I could not have achieved all that I have without the help of the Lord.I let them know that faith in God does not mean that troubles do not happen, but we have someone to lean on in those dark times.
I try not to overdo it, though, with the ones who don’t believe and who have never really been part of a church family, because I remember my Uncle Red who was the only member of my father’s family that was saved. When my cousins saw him coming, they would run, but I would stay and listen to him tell me about the love of Jesus. I was saved at age 9, and I loved the Bible so much that I slept with it under my pillow, somehow thinking that it kept me safe in the strange homes of my childhood. Uncle Red would quote Bible verses to me, and I loved just sitting and listening to him.
That was the closest I came to going to church then, because neither of my parents went to church or ever spoke a word about God. I thank Uncle Red today for blessing me with God’s words, for they have been a soothing balm in many a troubled moment. But, I do not want my grandchildren afraid to have me around because all I talk about is God and Jesus.
I do not want them to alienate themselves from me, especially because I believe that they need my love and presence in their lives. A grandparent’s love is different from a parent’s love, mainly because it is a freer love, often absent the judgment and expectations of parents. I routinely allowed my older grandchildren to do things without fear of punishment that my children would have never gotten away with, and I cannot be in the same house, much less room, when the younger ones are spanked today. I tell my children that I do not believe in corporal punishment today for my grandchildren, and they respond that they wish I had thought that way thirty years ago.
So, I want to be in my grandchildren’s lives without the added impediment of them being afraid that I will continuously try to evangelize them. Yet, Deuteronomy 4:9 tells us to teach our children and our grandchildren of God’s goodness and incredible acts in our lives. And, the apostle Paul reminded Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:5 that the faith that Paul saw in Timothy first dwelt in his grandmother Lois as well as in his mother Eunice. So, I feel a responsibility to share the word of God with my grandchildren the way I did their parents and Uncle Red did for me, so that they can teach their children someday, keeping the love of God and His salvation as themes in our family for generations to come.
My grandchildren know the miracles in my life, but I cannot seem to get through to them the necessity of knowing God and putting their trust and confident hope in Him. I want them to understand the need to be born-again in Jesus Christ, and how it will help them in their lives, although it does not mean that they will not suffer pain, grief, and sorrow.
I pray for my grandchildren every day, asking God to draw them to His Son, for Jesus says in John 6:44 that nobody can come to Him unless the Father who sent Him draws them to Him, and at the last day He will raise them up. I pray that God will place people in their lives that they are willing to listen to as they tell them of God’s amazing and unfailing love for them. I want them to be children of the Most High God, understanding that they cannot gain eternal life because their grandmother is a believer.
They have to accept Christ Jesus as their Lord and King for themselves. God simply does not have grandchildren, and it’s good that He does not, because in the midnight hour when troubles seem so huge and problems seem impossible to resolve, people need to know that it is only God working in the invisible realm who works miracles in the natural realm. People need to know Him for themselves. Granny might love you, but I am only human, and we just cannot put our trust in human beings who cannot often help themselves.
So, I welcome any and all suggestions about this issue. I have a doctorate in Sociology, but it cannot help me with this problem. I have, of course, put the situation in God’s hands, and I know that He is able to do what no other power on earth or in heaven can do. It is my hope that God had me write this post because someone out there will read it and give me the feedback I have prayed to receive. I will place a comment form for you, in case you don’t have a blog address.
Dear Father in Heaven,
I come before Your throne of mercy and grace, praying to know what to do to win over my grandchildren. I want them to know the unfailing love that You give to us flawed human beings, so that in times of trials and tribulations, they can know the peace and joy that You have afforded to me. I want them to know Jesus and to be children of the Most High God. What can I do, Lord? In Jesus’s Name. Amen.