On our way home from my parents’ house on Christmas Evening, we had just hit the highway, and the hum of the tires on the road helped us settle into the ride ahead. The dogs had found their perfect spots–one on the floor of the car, and the other in the seat with our daughter. When out of the clear blue night sky, our son asks us,
“How do I deepen my relationship with God?”
Wow! What a deep question for our newly 11-year-old!
I replied, “Wow, son, God must be knocking on your heart wanting you to get to know Him better. The way to do that is to spend time with Him…reading the Bible and talking with Him through prayer. That’s so very cool that you are sensitive to the Spirit nudging you.”
Our son can at times be a guy of few words, (not all the time, mind you, at church his new nickname is “Gabby”, since he doesn’t stop talking) and this was one of those few-word times. He just hummed a “Hmmm” response and looked out the window.
Brandon turned the radio volume back up, and we rocked on with our ride. A few minutes later, our son asked Brandon, “could you please turn down the radio, it keeps interrupting my thoughts about God, and I just want to think about Him for a while?”
I just want to think about Him for a while.
Well, absolutely, little buddy! We turned down the radio & rode the rest of the way in a comfortable silence, allowing him to meditate on God. (How cool is that?! I love that he just wanted to think about God. It reminded me how wonderful it is to be intentional in our meditations about God.)
That night, instead of reading his new Star Wars books in bed, he read in his Bible.
The next morning when he woke up, he read in his Bible, instead of heading straight for the Xbox.
The next night at bedtime, he again reached for his Bible.
Let me pause here to tell you that our kids LOVE to read. We are those parents who have to scold them to put down the book at the dinner table, when someone is talking to them, while walking in a parking lot, at bedtime, etc. As soon as the twins were old enough to walk, we started going to the library weekly and still haven’t stopped. (This is a mystery to Brandon, who could take or leave a library!)
Okay, so it’s bedtime and our son has his Bible open reading away. After tucking them in and saying prayers, Brandon & I stood out in the hallway pondering what to do. How do you tell a child to close his Bible & go to bed??? You don’t. I told Brandon, “I’m not telling him to close his Bible.” Brandon said the same thing back to me. So we walked away & let the Holy Spirit do His thing!
This morning, I was already up spending time with God, drinking my coffee, when I heard our son wake up. Normally, I hear his door open, then moments later I’ll hear the toilet flush, then I hear the playroom door close, which means he has gone in there to play the Xbox & he closes the door so as to not wake his sister. Today, however, I hear his door open, moments later I hear the toilet flush, then I hear him bounce back into his bed, with the sound of the pages of the Bible turning to find where he left off the night before.
It was such a beautiful sound. There is just something so special about hearing those onion-skin pages turning. I loved it!
I sat there & marveled at the mighty work of the Holy Spirit. You see, our son’s thirst for God’s word did not come from me or Brandon, it came from the Holy Spirit. If us, as his parents, would have told him, you need to read your Bible when you lay down & when you wake up, it wouldn’t have stuck with him like this. The only thing we can do as parents, is pray for him and his journey with Christ, model what the relationship looks like, train him up in the ways of the Lord, and then step back and let the Holy Spirit do His thing.
This all started with him being sensitive to a question planted by the Holy Spirit:
“How can I deepen my relationship with God?”
When I thought of that word, I could only come up with positive connotations:
Go deep. (Like on a football field.)
Deep sea fishing. (I’ve never been, but I hear it’s a good way to fish!)
To deepen is a good thing. Let’s do it. Let’s go deep with Christ. Let’s be sensitive to the stirring of the Holy Spirit when He wants us to take our relationship with Christ deeper than before. Let’s pray for a renewed thirst for God’s word. Let’s fill the quiet with the sound of onion-skin pages of Bibles turning, soaking in the Word of God. What a beautiful sound it is!