I have this jar filled with bean seeds. I was told the seeds are over a hundred years old. And it was said when I got the seeds–no, they are not Jack’s beans. However, they will grow and continue to grow as long as the seed is cared for.
It was summer–Vacation Bible School and the Bible study for each night–God leads Moses and God leads Me–the story of Moses. It was Wednesday evening, third night of VBS and our lesson was about the Passover–the blood being applied to the lintel–the door frame.
And our classroom was filled with third and fourth graders and at the end of the lesson, hands started raising in the air–almost every single child. I have a question….I have a question–some of them waving their hands trying to get my attention. And they proceeded one by one asking questions–hard questions.
What if the house had more than one door when the Passover happened?
Which door did they use?
Did the house have a second floor?
What about the back door?
Who decided who would put the blood on the door?
And me at that moment looked at the assistant teacher and both of us were like, okay? I should have explained how houses were built during Biblical times. So we talked about how the houses were different than they are now. How there was only one door and God wouldn’t have missed anyone who had blood on their doors.
Not being satisfied or understanding fully, another question was asked about the house and I said–I think we are getting off the message of the story. And one of the boys replied, ‘But we need to know.’
Yes, you do need to know, I thought–ashamed. And we carried on our conversation more–
Another hand raised–a young boy, all of nine and he asked, ‘Were there babies born during the 40 years the Israelites were in the wilderness?
And his question took my breath for a minute–a question I had never heard asked or even thought about. ‘Yes! I’m sure there were lots of babies born during that time.’ And we both smiled.
Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation, Joel 1:3.
‘Where does God live?’ he asked in his four-year old voice.
‘He lives in heaven’ was her answer.
‘He’s like, kinda camouflaged then, isn’t he?’
‘Sorta, she answered. But, then she thought a little longer, 'No, no– He’s not camouflaged. We can see Him in the bunny rabbits and the deer and the flowers that grow. We can see Him in your sweet smile. In the sunshine, the clouds. He lives in every good thing. We can see Him, if we will look for Him.’
A Mama was questioned by her eight-year old daughter, ‘What is God?’ How do I answer that? the Mama wondered. And she decided the best answer was to change one word of the question–not what, but who–Who is God? And that made all the difference.
‘How did Naaman get leprosy? Was it contagious?’ this first grader asked with eyes blue and bright as a summer sky. And with COVID still fresh on their young hearts’ minds–contagious is a word they continue to worry about.
In the book of James 1, verse 5, it is written, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
It’s easy to focus only on the first part of this verse. I’ve heard it many times, it’s more familiar–the first part. But the second part, when we really read it, that is where the grace of the promise comes–wisdom given liberally–without upbraideth the one who asks.
Liberally–meaning large and generous amounts
Upbraideth–meaning not in a scolding manner. Disapproval or reprimand.
He gives us wisdom in generous amounts–without rebuking. Without scolding. Without disapproval. All we have to do is ask Him.
How do we react when a child, our children or grandchildren ask a question–those sitting in our Sunday School rooms–school classrooms? Do we answer in love, excitement, with encouragement–with patience–even when we have to repeat the same answer many times? Do we answer them at all–or just give them a “half-answer” or do we take the time to explain? And if we don’t know–do we simply confess, I don’t know–let’s find the answer out together.
Every child learns differently. We all do.
A seed in a jar will never grow until we open the jar. And without the care it needs, the seeds will only remain silent.
We were on our way home from school and I asked the question–have you met a lot of new friends this year? They both yelled yes and started sharing names. And then she asked her big brother, she being eight, and he, nine–are you going to kiss your new girlfriend?
And in a rather loud voice with a smile that could have stretched clear across a rainbow sky, he answered, ‘Yuck! No! You know better than that! You don’t kiss until you’re in college! You know that!’
‘Oh’, she said. ‘I thought it was high school.’
And he reminded her again, ‘No, it’s college.’ And called her by name to get his point across.
Ask and often, one question leads to another, and we never know what we will learn, us adults–who knew you weren’t supposed to kiss until you were in college.
Conversations with a child, our children, and grandchildren–those shared times of listening and talking are truly God-moments–and they pass by, ever so quickly. Hold on to them. And those moments will become cherished memories stored deep within our hearts–to be remembered later--with the greatest of joy.