But through me
by Erin Wikle –
“Who is God asking you to reach out to?”
This familiar question was asked of the church during a recent Sunday service. Familiar as it was, instead of giving it a quick once-over, we were asked to seriously ask God with certainty that’d he’d answer in that very moment. With my newborn daughter Evangeline sleeping soundly next to me, I closed my eyes and asked God to reveal who I was meant to focus my evangelical efforts on. With no hesitation, he immediately brought to mind my daughter, followed by a reminder of this simple, yet life-saving verse: “No one comes to the Father but through me.”
I had to think about that for a few minutes.
As a child, I remember hearing a lot about God. In Sunday school we sang songs that declared, “My God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!” On Valentine’s Day we ate sugar cookies and were taught that God is love. During vacation Bible school we learned that while we couldn’t see God, he is all around us. I believed in God as a young child, but my concept of who he was was vast and intangible. Plainly put, he was a relatively faceless entity. So, when I thought upon that life-saving verse again, something became abundantly clear: Jesus.
God certainly wasn’t implying that I ignore his participation in the trinity; he was asking that I not forget to teach my daughter about the presence and person of Jesus. Instead of worrying that I might succumb to teaching my little one about a “faceless God,” I was reminded to teach her about Jesus that she might better understand who God is. Jesus’ stories are tangible, exciting, and entertaining. His life was real, his death excruciating, and his resurrection was miraculous. Jesus Christ, Son of God. Jesus Christ, Son of Man.
I’m not at all asserting that we teach our children anything less than the full gospel. Rather, I’m challenging us to believe that our children are capable of understanding and believing much more than we imagine, especially at an early age. Along with the age-old stories about an almighty God, let’s throw in a few more about the miracle-performing, earth-walking, life-giving Jesus. Because on that day my daughter decides to follow Jesus—I want her to know Jesus. I want her to come to the Father, having known the Son.
Shortly after Evangeline was born, I received an email from a friend congratulating my husband Chris and me on our new arrival. This friend went on to encourage us to raise Evangeline in both the fear and fellowship of the Lord. What a challenge! It’s not enough that the next generation understand Jesus as their friend, if they do not submit to him as wholly his.
My prayer for my daughter, for your daughter, for your son, and for your children is this:
Do not wane in your fervor to know and understand who Jesus is.
Grab hold of his grace and grow intimate with the Father.
Abide in the Spirit and share the love of God with anyone who is without it.