Every night, we read a story to our son, Judah, from the YouVersion Kids Bible App. If you have kids and a smart phone, I would highly recommend downloading this app. It’s wonderfully interactive, bright, and colorful, and explains the Bible stories in a way that is powerful yet simple.
Every night, my husband or myself open it up and let the story come to life for him. Stories about the world taking shape from a formless void all at the sound of God’s voice. Stories of man’s efforts to touch Heaven with a tower that was built on a foundation of pride only to be foiled by humility and a God with a greater plan for His people. Stories of floods and famines and plagues and promises. Stories of bushes burning with the voice of Yahweh and of a people stepping into freedom. Stories of shepherd boys and prophets and queens and kings, of loyal friends and devoted family members and of the God, the only, one true God that breathed life and love into all of it.
It started as a bedtime routine, but very quickly it has become something that permeates our day. Judah asks for a Bible story in the morning, before his nap, and yes, at bedtime. The goodness of God and the power of His word is fascinating my son.
It’s been amazing to watch. I’ve marveled anew at the power of our Lord and at the works of His hands as I’ve watched it all take root in my son’s mind and heart. I see it there, in his eyes, in his reactions to the things that broke the Lord’s heart, in his understanding of what disobedience brings and his joy when the Lord’s justice prevails. I see it when his eyes grow wide, as the heart of a lion within him roars with praise at the victories of our God and as the soft places there too are quieted by the gentleness of Jesus. I see the wonder and the devotion.
I see the roots growing down deep and, oh how it makes my heart sing! It’s the answer to all of my prayers, the embodiment of all of my dreams for him, the joy of my heart. And I remember too, what it felt like to walk where he is walking. I remember how those stories fascinated me as a child and how I took them at their word with not a trace of doubt or skepticism. How I simply trusted that the God of all of those stories could and would do things like that just for me and that He very much loved me indeed.
It’s a cozy feeling, childlike faith. It wraps you up tight like a blanket on a cold night leaving no inch of you uncovered or touched by cold doubt. It’s a good feeling. It’s safe and powerful and confident and that’s what my son is covered in right now.
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17 NIV
I walked downstairs after putting Him to bed and watching his heart get hooked once again and this verse burst into my heart.
“ Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty —
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.” Psalm 145: 3-5 NIV
I thought to myself that it all seemed so right. That it only makes sense that Judah would be captivated by a God who can quiet storms and give the strength of a warrior to a shepherd boy. It’s only right that he would feel comfortable learning about a God who judges us not by what we look like but by what’s in our heart. It’s all so logical and easy to understand because when you step back and look at it all, at the stories and the promises and the actions of God and His people, there’s something there that’s compelling and easy to get on board with. It’s as simple as one generation telling the next and then together, taking Him at His Word.
My son is falling in love with God because he is seeking Him. He’s captivated by His word because he’s spending time getting to know the heart behind it. He’s hooked on it all because it’s becoming the voice behind comfort and confidence and adventure and promise in his heart and that’s exactly the way I want it.
And it was as simple as letting the word of God speak to him.
I asked Judah today what his favorite story has been so far. He said, “God talking in the burning bush.” He said it in the way that little boys do, accompanied with climbing and wiggling, energy buzzing through him, but the room grew still for me all the same and something snagged my attention.
“Yeah!” I said. “That’s pretty cool how God spoke to Moses isn’t it buddy? How does God speak to you?” I threw it out there, not sure if he would bite, if he was ready to engage in a serious conversation or if he would change the subject to Ninja Turtles with a swing of verbal nun-chucks.
“He speaks in my heart,” Judah said.
“What has he told you, buddy?” I asked.
“That he loves me,” Judah said with a smile.
That right there is the crux of it all. All of the seeking and wondering and learning and loving that Judah has done over the last few weeks is summed up in that. That perhaps the best and most powerful story that we can pull out, even more precious and awe inspiring than the parting of the Red Sea or the sending of bread from heaven, more special than a staff turning into a snake or loaves and fishes multiplying, is that the God that did all of that speaks. To us.
He’s done it in so many ways, both quiet and flashy, miraculous and simple, but he’s always done it and the heart of every word has always been the same.
He loves us.
I know you aren’t a child, that believing in the word isn’t as simple as it maybe once was, that we have questions and doubts about God’s plan at times, and that our hearts and minds aren’t as easily captivated but would you try it with me this week? Would you try seeking Him in his word anew? Try to read the stories of His miracles and His plans and the way that he moved heaven and earth and started history anew just to be with His people and teach them righteousness and love. Try to seek His wondrous works and to let them captivate your heart once more because, if you’re willing, it won’t take much.
Above all though, would you try to hear his voice? It’s steady and constant and firm and soft all at once, speaking the words that are as old as the sunrise and as familiar to those lips as water is to ours.
“I love you.” He says. Through all of it, then and now, that’s what he says and that is the most powerful part of it all.
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3 NLT